UPDATED 9:30 AM PT – Monday, December 6, 2021
According to former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, variant-specific vaccines may not work against new variations of COVID. During an interview Sunday, he said there’s reason to believe developed vaccines won’t work well against the full component of different variants.
“While Omicron may become a threat in U.S., the absolute risk from it right now is very low,” Gottlieb noted. “Many people will still become infected by Delta and may find that delta natural immunity doesn’t protect well against Omicron.”
This comes as Omicron cases have reached at least 15 states in the U.S. and the CDC announced FDA officials are in talks of rushing to authorize a Omicron-specific vaccine.
“So, the question right now is whether or not this is re-infecting people who have Delta immunity and haven’t been vaccinated, or whether it’s going to also infect people who have who have been vaccinated,” Gottlieb stated. “There’s some reason to believe that vaccines could be more protective than just immunity acquired through natural infection from Delta. That’s going to be a critical question we need to figure out in the coming weeks because we have some important policy decisions that we need to make, depending on the answer.”
Meanwhile, CDC Director Rachelle Walensky said conversations remain ongoing and the number of probable Omicron cases will likely rise.