Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that he doesn’t believe “we’re ever going to reach true herd immunity.”
“I don’t think we’re ever gonna reach true herd immunity. This is isn’t gonna like measles or smallpox where it just sort of goes away. COVID’s gonna continue to circulate at a low level,” Gottlieb told CBS’ Margaret Brennan on “Face The Nation”
“Hopefully we’ll continue to vaccinate the vulnerable population so we’ll protect them from hospitalizations, severe illness and dying from this,” Gottlieb said.
Gottlieb said the virus will keep spreading and said the virus strains from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil may “become more prevalent here in the United States.” Gottlieb also said they should be ready for the COVID-19 strains when fall approaches.
Gottlieb said Pfizer and other vaccine manufactures are attempting to update the vaccines and make boosters for the COVID-19 strains.
“We have time to work this out. You see the CDC investing a lot of resources and sequencing to try and uncover these new variants. So we do have time,” Gottlieb said. “I think we’ll have the spring and the summer to work this out and prepare much better for the fall.”
Gottlieb said although the virus has been “tragic” for the country, he thinks people “should be optimistic.”
“I think we’re gonna continue to see infection rates decline into the spring and the summer,” Gottlieb said. “Right now they’re falling quite dramatically. I think these trends are likely to continue. The new variants do create new risks.”
Gottlieb said since about one-third of the country has been infected and vaccination rates are increasing, there “is enough protected immunity.”
“Once you get to about 40% of the population with some sort of protective immunity — you don’t have herd immunity because it will continue to transfer, but it will transfer at a much slower rate. And that’s what we have right now around the country,” Gottlieb said.
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