The former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has shared concerns that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations will be slowed by large numbers refusing the shot, predicting only a third of the U.S. population will volunteer for innoculation.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb aired his concerns in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday morning, saying that many younger people who are unlikely to face serious illness might decline to get vaccinated.
So far, 10.5 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, out of the 31 million doses distributed to states, according to the latest available CDC data.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated that up to 80 percent of the U.S. population, or some 260 million people, will need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, the point at which the virus is unable to spread widely.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Tuesday aired his concerns that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations will be slowed by large numbers of Americans refusing the shot
‘At some point demand is going to become an issue,’ Gottlieb said in the interview, pointing out that last fall, the number of people getting a flu vaccine hit a record high, but was still only 120 million.
‘Those were people who were worried about getting COVID going out and getting flu vaccines. That may be the universe of people who really have significant demand for a COVID vaccine,’ he said.
‘There’s going to be a lot of intense demand even in younger cohorts, but I think once we get to 100 million, maybe 120 million vaccines, the demand is going to get soft,’ he added.
‘We’ve talked about access being the real challenge right now, and now we’re talking about supply because we’re starting to get to a steady state of supply and it’s hard to increase the supply in the near term,’ said Gottlieb. ‘At some point, demand is going to be come an issue.’
‘We can’t lose sight of that and just take for granted that everyone wants this vaccine,’ he said.
Joseph Leblanc receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, Florida
The latest poll from Pew Research on the question indicates that 60 percent of Americans say they would definitely or probably get a coronavirus vaccine
Meanwhile, in New York state nearly a third of nursing home workers refused to be vaccinated, the governor’s office told the New York Times.
In some ares, staff members who refused the vaccine outnumbered those who have been vaccinated. On Long Island, 46 percent declined while 34 percent have been vaccinated.
Ohio’s governor previously said that a staggering 60 percent of nursing home workers in that state declined to be vaccinated.
The latest poll from Pew Research on the question indicates that 60 percent of Americans say they would definitely or probably get a coronavirus vaccine if it were available to them today.
That was up from 51 percent who said the same in September. However, about four out of 10 still say they definitely or probably would not get a vaccine.
About half of this reluctant group – or 18 percent of U.S. adults – says it’s possible they would change their mind once people start getting a vaccine and more information becomes available.
President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office.
His plan includes having the Federal Emergency Management Agency and National Guard build coronavirus vaccine clinics across the United States.
Biden’s incoming CDC director has said the new administration plans to bring in the military and medical students to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos Tuesday morning that the CDC will commission military medical personnel, retirees and nursing and medical students to make sure there are enough people ‘on the ground’ to get shots into the arms of Americans.
Walensky said they will also make the vaccine more ‘accessible’ by launching mobile vans and giving more pharmacies doses as she vowed that the incoming administration will focus on ‘the science’.
She didn’t say in the brief interview whether the government would change any of the eligibility requirements for people to get the vaccine, or whether it would leave more of the decision making to states.