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Senior director for global health security leaving the NSC

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Beth Cameron, the National Security Council senior director for global health security and biodefense, is leaving her post this month after a year working in the Biden administration, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Cameron helped formulate President Joe Biden’s international strategy for fighting Covid-19 and worked intensively on the administration’s distribution of vaccines across the world. She also worked closely with Eric Lander, the former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, on a plan to improve U.S. pandemic readiness. Lander resigned Monday after POLITICO detailed reports of bullying and mistreatment of colleagues.

Cameron, who held the same NSC position from 2016 to 2017, helped author a pandemic playbook for then-President Barack Obama. The Trump White House did not use the playbook when Covid-19 emerged in the U.S. in 2020 and then-President Donald Trump eliminated Cameron’s office, moving staffers onto other NSC teams instead.

The National Security Council and USAID did not provide comment for this story.

Raj Panjabi, the global health malaria coordinator at USAID, will replace Cameron this month. Before joining USAID, Panjabi worked as the CEO of Last Mile Health, a nonprofit he founded to help develop community health care systems across the world. Julie Wallace will serve as acting U.S. global malaria coordinator in place of Panajabi.

Panjabi’s move to the NSC is taking place at a time when the Biden administration is reenvisioning its global Covid-19 strategy. In 2021, the administration focused on securing and shipping hundreds of millions of doses overseas. In 2022, the Biden team is looking to help put the more than 1 billion shots it has promised the world into arms, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where vaccination rates are still lagging, according to two senior administration officials working on the effort.

The switch in leadership at the NSC comes amid rising tensions among the White House, the NSC, and other agencies such as USAID over the direction of the administration’s global pandemic response. POLITICO previously reported that officials working on the effort have said the White House’s decisions on vaccine donation allocations lack transparency and that it has cut officials from other agencies out of the process.

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