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Gottlieb predicts “broad immunity” among children as more get COVID-19 vaccine

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

Washington — Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration who now serves on Pfizer’s board of directors, said Sunday that he expects “broad immunity” against COVID-19 among younger children as more get vaccinated.

“The uptake on a 5- to 11[-year-old] vaccine has been very brisk, and I suspect that uptake is going to be better than 12 to 17. There were some estimates that uptake would be less than 12 to 17. I think it could be the opposite,” Gottlieb told “Face the Nation.” “Right now, CVS is scheduled to deliver more than 1 million vaccines to kids ages 5 to 11 today, so I think you’re going to see broad immunity get put into the child population.”

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the pediatric version of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old. Vaccine clinics and pediatricians’ offices around the country have already received shipments of the smaller vaccine and started putting shots in arms. Gottlieb said the Biden administration’s rollout of the vaccine for kids has been “outstanding.”

“I do think a lot of parents are going to go out and vaccinate their children, and that’s going to improve the situation of safety in schools,” Gottlieb said.

Although most kids won’t be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving, Gottlieb said that it is now generally safe for partially vaccinated children to be in close proximity around their grandparents during the holidays, depending on the local prevalence of the virus within their community.

Gottlieb said the U.S. is close to the end of the “pandemic phase” of COVID-19 and is entering a more “endemic” phase.

“In another month to two months, I think we’ll be on the back end of this, and prevalence will be very low, and you’ll start to see local communities lift those restrictions,” he said. “Some are already lifting them. But I think the schools are probably going to be the last places that we lift some of those restrictions.”

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