KEY POINTS

  • The former FDA commissioner urged parents to vaccinate their children ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday
  • The country's seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases reached over 92,000 Sunday
  • Growing COVID-19 hospitalizations has pushed many hospitals in 15 states near the “breaking point

A Pfizer board member has suggested that there are more breakthrough COVID-19 infections among the fully vaccinated than what is currently being reported in the United States. 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a member of the drugmaker’s board and a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday where he said the U.S. is undercounting the number of COVID-19 cases among the vaccinated.

“At this point I think we need to accept that there’s a lot of breakthrough infections happening, particularly people who are out a significant portion of time from their original vaccination,” Gottlieb said.

“There’s going to be retrospective studies that identify this, but we’re not doing a good job of tracking this in real time,” he added.

During the interview, Gottlieb urged Americans to get booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, noting that breakthrough infections are likely to occur in people who are a year removed from becoming fully immunized. 

The former FDA commissioner also called on parents to get their unvaccinated children inoculated before the Thanksgiving holiday, adding that children gain more protection following their first shot compared to adults. 

As of Monday, all U.S. adults who received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at least six months ago are eligible to receive their booster doses. People aged 18 and older who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are also eligible to receive the booster doses two months after their shot. 

Gottlieb’s comments come as COVID-19 cases across the United States are ticking upward again as more people travel ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The country’s rolling seven-day average of new coronavirus cases reached 92,400 Sunday, up from approximately 79,655 from a week ago, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Sunday, the United States logged 31,372 new COVID-19 infections and 126 new deaths. Across the country, at least 50,713 coronavirus patients are admitted to hospitals, an analysis by The New York Times showed.

The country has so far reported 47,886,798 coronavirus cases and 772,414 deaths, as per Johns Hopkins University data.

The growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has pushed many hospitals in 15 states, including Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan, near the “breaking point. Federal medical teams have since been dispatched to Minnesota to help overwhelmed facilities. 

vaccine-6165772_1920 Representation. A 17-year-old girl in Washington is the third person in the state to have possibly died from a COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Pixabay