Travelers entering the country should not "feed a lot of additional infections" when the United States lifts its border restrictions Monday for fully vaccinated international travelers, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday.
He also told CBS's "Face the Nation" he believes the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down, and COVID vaccinations will bring "broad immunity" to the nation's children.
"A lot of people who are coming into the U.S. first of all, they have to show that they've been vaccinated," Gottlieb said. "A lot of them will make sure that they're not carrying the infection with them. They're not going to want to get caught in a foreign country with the infection."
He also told CBS the world is entering a "more endemic phase."
"As things improve in the U.S., people are going to go out more," Gottlieb said. "Cases may pick up, but that doesn't mean we're entering another wave of infection. The delta variant is the last major wave. We said the two of the events that would mark the end of the pandemic, was being able to vaccinate our children and also having a wildly available, orally accessible drug that could treat coronavirus at home to prevent people from being hospitalized or dying.
"We now have two of those potential pills, one from Pfizer and one from Merck, and there will be more behind that."
However, the delta version of the coronavirus still has to play out, and there is not much that can be done at this point to interrupt it, according to Gottlieb.
"What's happening is that this delta infection is moving from less populated areas where it had engulfed those regions with infection, to more populated areas like Michigan, like Minnesota, like Wisconsin, so it's showing an overall stall in the decline nationally," Gottlieb said.
The virus will still "capture most people who remain unvaccinated at this point," he said.
Even with the vaccine resistance making the most headlines, Gottlieb insisted a "phenomenal job" has been done in vaccinating the adult population, as almost 81% of adults over the age of 18 in the United States have had at least one dose of vaccine.
Meanwhile, because the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for emergency use with children ages 5-11, Gottlieb said he believes it will be safe for children to be across the table from their grandparents this year for Thanksgiving.
He also said he thinks the shots will get out faster for younger children than they did for teens.
"CVS is scheduled to deliver more than one million vaccines to kids ages 5-11 today, so I think you're going to see broad immunity get put into the childhood population," Gottlieb added. "Now, there won't be mandates on vaccines for kids for a very long time. I don't see that happening for years, but I do think a lot of parents are going to vaccinate their children and that will improve the situation of safety in schools."
He also said he thought the White House's rollout on vaccines for younger children has been "outstanding."
"Within two weeks, anyone who wants to vaccinate their children will be able to do it for ages 5-11," Gottlieb concluded. "Some parents are going to have to wait a week to get an appointment. The appointments got filled up right away. But everyone is going to be able to vaccinate their kids within 7-10 days of the availability of this vaccine."
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