“We’re not sure these people won’t come back. They just didn’t come back on time, ”the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner said in an interview on CNBC’s“ Squawk Box ”.
However, Gottlieb said receiving the second Covid vaccine was necessary to achieve all of the protective benefits the vaccines provide for the months to come. The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two injections. (Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine, the third approved for emergency use in the United States, only requires a single dose.)
“My advice to everyone would be that while you are young and there is some evidence that you derive a robust immune response just from that first dose, we don’t know the durability of that response,” he said. said Gottlieb, who sits on Pfizer. Advice. “If you really want to get a long lasting effect from the vaccine, you really should get the second dose. “
White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci said on Friday that about 8% of U.S. residents who received the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines did not return for the second vaccine.
“The number of people that we’ve seen so far not coming back for the second dose is small by historical standards or historical standards,” said Gottlieb, who led the FDA from 2017 to 2019 in the Trump administration. For example, he said, the return rate of the Covid vaccine is better than that of the two-dose shingles vaccine.
Gottlieb acknowledged that it is possible that a higher percentage of people vaccinated in the United States will skip the second shot as more young people get vaccinated. This is partly because “younger people know they get a more robust immune response from just the first dose compared to an older individual, who really needs that second dose for full immune protection.” he reiterated.
People who so far haven’t returned for the second shot aren’t necessarily doing anything intentionally wrong, Gottlieb added. He praised the pharmacies that administer vaccines for “trying to set up reminders for these patients.”
“Often it is lost sight of. It’s not the people who don’t come back on purpose, ”Gottlieb said. “There are situations, I’ve talked to people, who are concerned about the second dose, the side effects that are supposed to be associated with the second dose versus the first dose. But at the moment, the percentage of people who have come back because this second hit is quite high. “
Nearly 105 million people in the United States, or nearly a third of the population, have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 147 million, or about 44% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose, according to CDC data.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and serves on the boards of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, health technology company Aetion Inc., and biotech company Illumina. He is also co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.