Dr. Francis S. Collins, the National Institutes of Health director who has led the agency through three presidential administrations and has been an outspoken advocate for coronavirus vaccines, said on Tuesday that he would step down from his post by the end of the year.
Dr. Collins, 71, was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama after more than a decade leading the National Human Genome Research Institute, which is part of the N.I.H.
A geneticist by training, Dr. Collins endorsed President Biden’s decision this summer to require federal workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, and has said that businesses asking employees for proof of vaccination or regular testing were taking steps “in the right direction.”
“I think anything we can do to encourage reluctant folks to get vaccinated — because they’ll want to be part of these public events — that’s a good thing,” Dr. Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in August.
As the pandemic raged in the summer of 2020, Dr. Collins testified on Capitol Hill that a vaccine would not be made available in the United States unless it was safe and effective, pushing back against President Donald J. Trump’s assertions that a vaccine would be ready by Election Day.
“Certainly, to try to predict whether it happens on a particular week before or after a particular date in early November is well beyond anything that any scientist right now could tell you and be confident they know what they are saying,” Dr. Collins told a Senate panel at a hearing in September 2020.
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