More than a dozen key positions in the U.S. government's public health care system remain vacant as President Barack Obama's administration nears 100 days in office.
Among the open positions is that of secretary of Health and Human Services. Mr. Obama's nominee for the post, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, but a vote is expected to take place Tuesday.
Other key public health agencies awaiting new chiefs include the Food and Drug Administration; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the National Institutes of Health; and the office of the U.S. Surgeon General.
Many of these positions are being filled temporarily by career civil servants, or by individuals first appointed by former President George W. Bush's administration.
Despite the vacancies, the administration has activated an emergency response plan to deal with the crisis. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the president is confident with the team currently in place.