Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb
warned on Sunday that an infectious variant of the coronavirus
could cause a new surge in COVID-19
infections this fall, especially in states with low vaccination rates.
Gottlieb made the remarks on CBS's "Face the Nation," saying that while the White House
should be commended for delivering more than 317 million doses of vaccine
during President Joe Biden
's first months in office, the country needed a new strategy to vaccinate those who were still hesitant.
The states have some of the nation's lowest immunization rates.
“It doesn’t necessarily appear more pathogenic, meaning more dangerous, but it’s infecting people
more easily and it’s starting to become very prevalent in the United Kingdom
in unvaccinated communities,” the doctor explained. “When we look across the United States
, we see wide variation in terms of vaccination rates. Some states, such as Vermont
, have very high vaccination rates above 80%.
The Delta variant
of COVID-19 “doesn't necessarily appear more dangerous, but it is infecting people more easily,” according to former FDA commissioner @ScottGottliebMD, and it appears to be spreading more widely among children
in the UK. pic.twitter.com/YU7GESLkCX — Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 20, 2021
“So Connecticut, for example, where I am, shows no increase in infection, but Mississippi
, and Missouri
show significant increases in infection, and that is entirely dependent on how much population-wide immunity you have based on vaccination,” he continued.
The warnings are similar to those issued by current Biden administration
officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci
, who urged Americans to get their vaccinations
earlier this month.
While the Delta variant is rapidly spreading, a recent study discovered that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 88% effective against the strain two weeks after the second dose. Gottlieb said vaccine efficacy underscored the need for the Biden administration to reconsider its vaccination campaign.
“We need to think about a different vaccine delivery strategy to get the people who are still reluctant or who still face challenges getting into those access sites,” Gottlieb said. “I think vaccine administration will decline over the summer as prevalence declines. People aren’t going to be seeking out a vaccine in July and August. But as people consider going back to school and baccalaureate,” Gottlieb said.
Gottlieb also stated on Sunday that the Biden administration's recent announcement to invest $3.2 billion in antiviral drug trials to combat COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses could be a "game changer."
“I believe we will get a drug that inhibits viral replication that can be taken as an outpatient and is basically like Tamiflu for coronavirus that you can take when you first have symptoms, when you first get a diagnosis to prevent disease progression,” Gottlieb predicted.