Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday that, unlike 2020, he fully assumes that families and friends will gather for the holidays this year. He also suggested that there are ways to minimize the risk of Covid.
“Nothing will stop us from getting together, and we will meet for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said the former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in “Squawk Box”. He is now on the board of directors at the Covid vaccine maker Pfizer.
Gottlieb’s comments came a day after Dr. White House chief medical officer Anthony Fauci said in a CBS interview that it was “just too early to say” whether large group meetings are safe for Christmas.
“We just have to focus on bringing these numbers down further and not try to jump weeks or months ahead and say what we are going to do at any given time,” Fauci said on Face the Nation. to the fact that US coronavirus cases have risen sharply in recent months due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.
“Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to fight these cases, and we can do this by vaccinating people and, in situations where refresher is appropriate, also having people refreshed because we know they are going to make a significant contribution can reduce infections and reduce advanced disease, “added Fauci.
In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. A similar warning was issued at the time for the December vacation.
Gottlieb said last year his family hadn’t held a Thanksgiving meeting because of the pandemic.
However, on Monday he suggested that this fall is different with Covid vaccinations for adults being widespread. Gottlieb has also said that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccination could already be approved for Halloween in an emergency for children aged 5 to 11.
Currently, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine with two vaccinations in the US is fully licensed for those aged 16 and older and workers approved for adolescents between 12 and 15 have been vacated.
Moderna’s two-shot Covid vaccine is also approved for use in emergencies for adults aged 18 and over in the USA. Johnson & Johnson’s single-use vaccine is also used for adults in emergencies. The FDA will meet next week to consider booster vaccinations for Moderna and J&J recipients.
“I think what people need to do is assess how high the prevalence is in their local community and what the risk is in their family environment,” said Gottlieb, who headed the FDA in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019.
“If you have the elderly, young children, who are not vaccinated and who might introduce infection into that environment, people should just be careful,” he added. “Use [Covid] Testing to ensure this type of encounter. But there’s nothing stopping us from gathering around the holidays this year. “
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.