Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner who sits on Pfizer's board of directors, said on Sunday that the nation has "probably missed a window" for providing a booster shot to protect against the more infectious delta variant of COVID-19.
Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Gottlieb said that many people who were vaccinated early, including those in elder care homes and front-line health care workers, may begin showing a decline in immunity, pointing to a recent Israeli study that found vaccine efficacy fell among these groups.
"If you go out and get vaccinated right now, that vaccine's going to carry you through the fall and the winter. What we're really talking about is people who were vaccinated a while ago, where there may be some declining efficacy," Gottlieb said, adding that the delta variant could potentially "overwhelm their residual antibodies."
“If we don't get started, we’re not going to be in a position to have boosters available should we need them come fall,” @ScottGottliebMD says. “I think, quite frankly, we’ve probably missed the window for providing boosters for the Delta variant.” pic.twitter.com/GENXQzMRU4— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) July 11, 2021
Last week, Pfizer announced that it planned to seek FDA authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying another dose provided five to 10 time more antibodies when administered six months after a second dose.
According to Gottlieb, regardless of whether the FDA approves the third shot, the application needed to be made now in order to have it ready in time for the 2021-2022 COVID-19 season.
"I think, quite frankly, we've probably missed a window in terms of providing boosters for the delta variant. The delta variant's likely to play out really over the months of August and September, maybe in October. This wave of infection will have passed us," Gottlieb said on Sunday. "But you still want to consider boosters for people going forward, particularly vulnerable elderly people in nursing homes, people who we know are more vulnerable to the infection."