Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday that he anticipates a slow rollout for COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 5.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit more of a slow rollout relative to what we’ve seen in past rollouts with the other age groups,” Gottlieb said of vaccinating the youngest Americans during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Gottlieb specifically pointed to some of the differences in distribution, as some children under age 3 cannot be vaccinated at mass distribution sites.
“There are going to be pharmacies that are vaccinating children. CVS is going to move it into their pharmacies, but they’re only moving in to the pharmacies with advanced care providers with their MinuteClinics,” he explained
“Maybe around children’s hospitals, you’ll see some clinics stood up, but most people are probably going to get vaccinated in their pediatricians’ offices, and it’s going to take a little bit more time to get the vaccine into those local settings because it’s more difficult to vaccinate a child who is very young,” Gottlieb continued.
“You need people who are specially trained to do that, and so you want the settings to be appropriate,” he added.
The former FDA commissioner also cited surveys that indicated that roughly 20 percent of parents with children under 5 planned to vaccinate their children but said he anticipated a possibly lower rate.
“As prevalence declines going into the summer, a lot of parents may choose to take a wait-and-see attitude and reconsider this in the fall. I think uptick will be pretty slow,” he explained.
His remarks come after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky on Saturday endorsed an advisory committee’s recommendation to permit children under the age 5 to receive the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
President Biden called the move a “monumental step.”
“For parents all over the country, this is a day of relief and celebration,” he said in a statement Saturday.