Former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that nursing homes at which vaccinations for COVID-19 have begun will likely start seeing a reduction in rates of new cases within days.
Speaking with CBS's "Face the Nation," Gottlieb noted that vaccines usually take about a week to go into effect and provide immunity to viruses and said that, as a result, many long-term care facilities for the elderly would see their numbers begin to drop soon.
"We will begin to see some indication that the vaccines are probably having an effect maybe as early as this week because we know that immunity does begin to kick in about a week after vaccination," Gottlieb said. "So that will start to have an impact on the mortality trends with COVID, but it's coming late in the season."
#COVID19 and nursing homes: @ScottGottliebMD tells @margbrennan nursing homes can expect to see "some indication" of #vaccines having an effect "as early as this week" as immunity kicks in.— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) December 27, 2020
"Vaccinations will the take about three weeks to get through all of the nursing homes" pic.twitter.com/jEUcE97ADd
He noted that elderly patients have a more urgent need for a second dose of the vaccine to provide full immunity to the virus, while younger people have shown stronger immunity after just one dose.
The pace of distributing the first dose, however, Gottlieb said Sunday, was slower than officials had hoped.
"The pace is slower than what was stated. I think it's probably realistic to think that the pace is going to be a little bit slower, especially as we try to move through hard-to-vaccinate populations next month," he told host Margaret Brennan.
"I suspect there's more than a million who have been vaccinated. There's a lag in reporting. But the idea that we're going to get to 20 million vaccines, vaccinations, by the end of the year, that's probably unrealistic at this point," Gottlieb continued.
State officials, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Tracking the Earth's 'ultimate record of change' Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll Michigan developing electrified road to wirelessly charge EVs, Whitmer says MORE (D), have criticized the federal government over holdups in the distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccine in recent days, calls that resulted in the top logistical official in charge of the rollout, Army Gen. Gustave Perna, apologizing for a "miscommunication" that he said had resulted in states being told they would receive more doses of the vaccine than were actually available.
"I accept responsibility for the miscommunication," Perna said last Saturday. "So to the governors and the governor's staffs; please accept my personal apology. If this was disruptive in your decision making and in your conversations with the people of your great state, I will work hard to correct this."