Dr. Scott Gottlieb says a Covid booster shot should be wanted within the fall

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday that fully vaccinated Americans should feel well protected from the coronavirus all summer long.

However, Gottlieb, who sits on the board of directors at vaccine maker Pfizer, said an additional dose might be needed later this year to boost immunity.

“I think you could feel safe all summer,” said the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in the “Squawk Box”. “The combination of the protective immunity people have from vaccinations – even if it decreases over time – combined with the fact that the prevalence is very low, can make people feel reasonably safe over the summer.”

While many U.S. health officials and pharmaceutical executives have signaled that more Covid vaccinations are likely to be needed, the exact time when they will be needed has been less clear.

“It would be nice if it turned out that it would be a year before someone needed a booster,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, last month. “But we still don’t know,” added Marks. “It could be more, it could be a little less, but … that’s just something we need to find out over time.”

Gottlieb, who headed the FDA in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019, said there could be more clarity about when to do so in the coming months.

“I think when we come into autumn we have to take care of giving boosters to the vulnerable population in particular,” said Gottlieb and predicted that these discussions will be more in focus after July 4th. Then President Joe Biden has set himself the goal of getting 70% of US adults at least partially vaccinated against Covid.

Currently, 63.5% of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of Covid vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to CDC data, about 53% of adults in the US are fully vaccinated.

The pace of Covid vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks, and Gottlieb said he assumed it would last through July and August. At that point, Gottlieb said Americans who weren’t vaccinated could choose to get the vaccine before they return to the office or their children go back to school.

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the board of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, health technology company Aetion, and biotechnology company Illumina. He is also co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.

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