Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said he believes that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be given to elders and those with compromised immune systems as early as next month, CNBC reported Monday.
“My guess is sometime by September or October we will be giving booster shots to older individuals and certainly immunocompromised,” Gottlieb told CNBC‘s “Squawk Box.” “I just think we’re on a slower path here,” he said about other countries’ booster shot plans.
“Quite frankly, it’s unfortunate because I do believe at least for older individuals and people who were vaccinated back in December, January should be contemplating this more actively,” he said, according to CNBC. ”[This is] certainly concerning because eventually those infections are going to break through and develop into more severe disease.”
Gottlieb, who led the FDA from 2017 to 2019 during former President Donald Trump’s presidency, joined Pfizer’s board of directors in June 2019, according to its site. He said the government has enough vaccines to give booster shots to the entire population, CNBC reported.
“For people who think that this is a zero-sum game and giving boosters to Americans is going to take vaccines away from other countries, those vaccines have already been purchased,” Gottlieb said, according to CNBC. “They exist and they’re not going to be used unless they’re used by the U.S. government.”
Gottlieb also said in July the delta variant surge across the U.S. would last just a few weeks. “The South will come out of this in a couple of weeks but you’re going to see cases start to pick up in the North,” Gottlieb said.
“That’s going to coincide with the restart of schools. I think it’s going to complicate things. This is a big country so this epidemic wave is going to hit different regions at different points in time,” Gottlieb said.
He previously called for states to lift coronavirus restrictions as vaccination rates rise and infection rates drop in May. “The risk is reduced as result of immunity. People are at the point where we can start lifting the ordinances in a wholesale fashion and people have to take precautions,” Gottlieb told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Gottlieb also said in February that there is “more and more evidence” coronavirus vaccines are also “preventing transmission of infection.”
“I think this is a good vaccine,” he said. “There is more and more evidence that these vaccines are preventing transmission of infection, which makes them an even more important public health tool.”
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