Dr. Scott Gottlieb: Resources Should Be Surged into Coronavirus Hotspots

Dr. Scott Gottlieb: Resources Should Be Surged into Coronavirus Hotspots Dr. Scott Gottlieb: Resources Should Be Surged into Coronavirus Hotspots Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (Drew Angerer/Getty)

By Brian Freeman | Sunday, 11 April 2021 05:40 PM

The Biden administration should surge funding and vaccination efforts in coronavirus hotspots nationwide in an attempt to prevent a fourth wave of infections, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

Asked about Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request to boost vaccine supply for states experiencing higher-than-average numbers of coronavirus cases, Gottleib said, “I think we should have done it weeks ago. It's never too late to do it.”

He stressed that “it's not just additional vaccine, but it's the resources to actually get the vaccine into arms… I think we need to think about putting those resources into hotspots. It's been sort of a Hunger Games for vaccines among states so far. And we need to think differently about this pandemic."

Gottlieb added that, “If you look at all the planning for past pandemics… it always contemplated surging resources into hot spots. They never perceived that there was going to be a confluent national epidemic, but there were going to be localized outbreaks."

The former FDA commissioner acknowledged some “governors are going to complain” about a change to the current system, where vaccines are being allocated to states based upon their total population, saying “every governor wants their allocation, but we're going to be in a situation probably as early as three weeks right now… where supply outstrips demand. And I think a lot of states are going to see themselves with excess supply and excess appointments. So it's going to be a shame to look back and in retrospect, realize that we probably should have put more vaccine into some of these hot spots to snuff them out earlier.”

He stressed that if, for example, “we start surging supplies into [hotpsot] Michigan now, start surging capacity to deliver those supplies into Michigan, it could have an impact on the tail-end of the epidemic that they're experiencing.”

When asked why there shouldn’t be a mandate for children receiving the coronavirus vaccine to be allowed to return to school, just as there is in most states for other vaccinations such as measles, mumps, and the flu, Gottleieb said “people have come to accept the other vaccines in the pediatric schedule that you reference… I think this is novel. I think issues around COVID have become an unfortunate political flashpoint in this country. And I think you're going to see governors across the political spectrum be reluctant to mandate it, in part because they know if they step into this debate and impose mandates, that's going to engender more opposition.”

He added that he hopes “we enter into the school year where enough adults have vaccine that we don't see outbreaks in the schools,” emphasizing that “community spread is the best, best predictor of what happens in the schools.”

Gottleib said that “if you look at the data out of Israel, you're seeing cases come down substantially among kids below the age of 16, not because they're vaccinated, but because their parents are vaccinated. So they're not bringing the infection into the schools.”