Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration,coronavirus variant could lead to a new surge in COVID-19 infections in the fall, particularly in states with low vaccination rates. Gottlieb made the comments on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” saying that while the White House should be celebrated for delivering more than 317 million doses of vaccine during President first months in office, the nation needed a new strategy to jab those who were still reluctant to get vaccinated.
The former FDA commissioner added that data shows the growing threat of theof the virus — up to 60% more contagious than earlier strains — could lead to a new wave of infections in places like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri. The states have some of the lowest inoculation rates in the nation. “It doesn’t necessarily appear more pathogenic, meaning more dangerous, but it’s more easily, and it’s starting to become very prevalent in the U.K. in unvaccinated communities,” the doctor said. “When we look , we see a wide variance in vaccination rates. Some states, like Vermont or Connecticut, have high vaccination rates above 80%. Other states are struggling to get to 50%.”
He continued: “So Connecticut, for example, where I am, shows no upsurge of infection, but Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri show very substantial upsurges of infections. That’s based entirely on how much population-wide immunity you have based on vaccination.” The warnings echo those of currentofficials, including Dr. , who urged Americans to get vaccinations earlier this month. While the is spreading rapidly, a recent study found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 88% effective against the strain two weeks after the second dose. Gottlieb said proof of vaccine efficacy underscored the need for the to rethink its vaccination campaign.
“Wedelivery strategy to get the people who are still reluctant or who still face challenges getting into those access sites,” Gottlieb said. “I think the vaccine administration will decline over the summer as prevalence declines. People in July and August. But as people contemplate returning to school and work in the fall, they will seek vaccines.” Gottlieb also said Sunday that the Biden administration’s recent announcement to spend $3.2 billion investing in various antiviral drug trials to combat COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses could be a “real game changer.” “I think we will get a drug that inhibits viral replication that could be taken on an outpatient basis and is basically like a Tamiflu for when you first have a diagnosis to prevent the progression to disease,” Gottlieb said.