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Gottlieb: Demand could complicate Biden's 100-day vaccine distribution plan

Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, on Sunday warned that demand for the COVID-19 vaccine may complicate President-elect Joe Biden's plan to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days.

"I think they will hit that 100 million mark, I think the issue is going to become demand," Gottlieb told CBS "Face The Nation" host Margaret Brennan."I think they're going to have the supply in place and the distribution in place to do that." 

Gottlieb, who sits on the board of Pfizer, which developed one of two COVID-19 vaccines that was approved for emergency use in the U.S., said that while demand issues may exist "the new administration put out makes a lot of sense."

"It's sort of an all the above approach, what we've been talking about, trying to push this through different channels like the big box stores, like pharmacies, trying to set up more federally chartered sites in conjunction with the states," he added.

As Gottlieb pointed out, roughly 30 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed so far and according to the former FDA commissioner, another 15 million will be made available to U.S. states this week.

The rollout of the vaccines has been criticized for being too slow and mired in red tape. Biden's chief-of-staff Ron Klain said on Sunday that the Biden administration was inheriting a "huge mess"  from the Trump White House in regards to vaccine distribution. Biden has also referred to the vaccine rollout so far as a "dismal failure.

Gottlieb also brought up the threat posed by the various new COVID-19 strains cropping up around the world such as in the U.K., South Africa, Brazil and Japan.

"I just think we need to be honest with ourselves that these strains are here right now, and we need to start taking action. You know, the simple things are still going to work, wearing masks, avoiding crowds," Gottlieb said. "And the quality of the masks really matters right now. If you wear a higher quality mask with this new infection, that's going to be very important."

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 12 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the U.S., with around 1.6 million people having received their second dose of the vaccine.

Biden's nominee for CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, had appeared earlier on the show and stated she was confident the administration would be able to successfully pull off its ambitious vaccination plan.

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