Trump admin ignored COVID warnings says ousted US vaccine official

WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2019 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters upon arrival at the White House in Washington D.C. June 7, 2019. Donald Trump said on Friday that his country has reached agreement with Mexico to avert the threat of tariffs on all Mexican imports next week. (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS)

Washington, May 6 (IANS) An ousted US vaccine agency official filed a whistleblower complaint alleging his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored and that his caution at a treatment favoured by President Donald Trump led to his removal.

Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), said in the complaint on Tuesday that he raised concerns about US preparedness for coronavirus starting in January but was met with “indifference which then developed into hostility” by leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services, Xinhua news agency reported.

Bright said he is seeking reinstatement as BARDA’s director and asking for a full investigation, according to a CNN report.

Bright was reassigned to a narrower position at the National Institutes of Health when he was removed on April 20 from the post he had served since 2016.

His attorneys argued that Bright’s removal from his post amounts to a violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act, claiming that Bright “has engaged in numerous instances of protected activity.”

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