Senate Democrats are calling for the head of the National Institutes of Health to step down and for a Senate committee to investigate the “unprecedented” and “unconscionable” appointment of the former head of Merck to the role of vice chair of the NIH.
“We believe it is time for Dr. Andrew Wakefield to step aside and for the National Academies to investigate his appointment,” said Senate Democrats’ top ranking member, Sen. Joe Manchin.
Democrats also are calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to appoint a special counsel to investigate Dr. Wakefield’s conduct.
Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana said in a statement that the NIH’s chief executive, Dr. Anthony Fauci, “has failed the American people.
He has failed to lead a transparent, transparent and ethical investigation of his own, and he has failed the trust of the American public.
It is time that the Senate hold hearings to ensure Dr. Fauceci has the resources and independence to lead this important agency.”
Rep. Peter DeFazio, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in the statement that he is calling for a bipartisan inquiry to investigate Wakefield, whose appointment to the NIH post was made after the deaths of more than 2,000 people.
He said Wakefield “has not been a transparent witness to this committee.”
In a statement, Wakefield said, “I am confident that the committee will be able to work cooperatively with the NIH to conduct an independent, fair and thorough investigation.”
The NIH has repeatedly defended its decisions in Wakefield and other scientists, including his role in the development of a highly contagious virus known as the coronavirus.
In October, a top scientist in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testified that Wakefield had “in no way influenced” the development or deployment of the vaccine.
The NIH and the CDC say they are confident that Wakeyear’s work was the result of rigorous, peer-reviewed, peer reviewed, peer review by the CDC and other government agencies.
Wakefield was also among the scientists who testified before Congress that the CDC did not use a study with faulty data and data that was too high in the first place.