A former director of the Food and Drug Administration is warning that the U.S. needs to step up its pace in terms of administering the coronavirus vaccine, as the current rollout plan is "not working."
Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CBS's Face The Nation on Sunday, January 10, that shots are simply not getting into the arms of Americans fast enough.
"We really need to get this vaccine out more quickly because this is really our only tool," he cautioned, citing variants of the virus that are currently mutating. "If we can get a lot of people vaccinated quickly, we might be able to get enough protective immunity into the population that this stops spreading at the rate that it is."
He emphasized that the pace of inoculation is not up to par. "We need to acknowledge that it's not working. We need to hit the reset and adopt a new strategy in trying to get out to patients."
Gottlieb suggests releasing all available supply of the vaccine, something that President-elect Joe Biden is on board with. He also advocates a strong push toward getting more people who are age 65 and over vaccinated. "We aren't doing a good job getting this to patients," he noted.
The expert explained that many people, especially seniors, aren't comfortable receiving a shot at a large-scale venue such as a stadium, and would prefer to get their vaccine at a more traditional place such as a doctor's office or pharmacy.
"We need to try everything right now to create multiple distribution points," he said. "We need to provide more opportunity for people to get a vaccination where they're comfortable getting it."
Overall, he couldn't stress enough: "We do need to get these [doses] out more aggressively."
"Right now, there's 40 million doses sitting on a shelf somewhere," he added. "So the feds say it's with the states. The states say it's with the feds. It really doesn't matter to the patient who's not getting access to to the injection."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22.1 million doses of the vaccines have been distributed, with about 6.7 million people having received the first of the two shots required.