U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced some nominations and appointments of his health team on Monday.
In a release, Biden said he's nominating Xavier Becerra, attorney general of California, for secretary of health and human services.
If confirmed, Becerra, a former U.S. congressman from California, will be the first Latino to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, which will oversee the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming months.
Meanwhile, the Democrat said he has tapped Vivek Murthy to serve as U.S. surgeon general, a post the research scientist held between 2014 and 2017, and picked Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The president-elect also said he has appointed Marcella Nunez-Smith, an expert on health care disparities, to serve as COVID-19 equity task force chair, while naming Jeff Zients, former director of the National Economic Council, coordinator of the COVID-19 response and a presidential counselor.
Anthony Fauci, a preeminent U.S. expert on infectious diseases and an adviser to six U.S. presidents, will serve as chief medical adviser on COVID-19 to Biden and continue in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
In a statement, Biden said he wants his health team to "bring the highest level of integrity, scientific rigor, and crisis-management experience to one of the toughest challenges America has ever faced -- getting the pandemic under control so that the American people can get back to work, back to their lives, and back to their loved ones."
According to Biden, addressing the pandemic, which has infected more than 14.7 million people and taken some 282,000 lives in the United States, will be a priority for his administration.