Former FDA Commissioner speaks at Penn State Behrend discussing COVID-19 pandemic

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An official on the board of directors for Pfizer and a former FDA Commissioner spoke in front of the community at the campus of Penn State Behrend to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott Gottlieb, former FDA Commissioner and current member of the Board of Directors for Pfizer spoke at Penn State Behrend to discuss the pandemic.

“We did not have the capacity to collect good information or analyze it in an real-time fashion and actually learn how to respond to this crisis appropriately, and a lot of that really fell with the CDC,” Gottlieb said. “The CDC is a deeply retrospective organization. It does very good science. It likes to take months to do exquisite analyses.”

In case of the next pandemic, Gottlieb has some ideas that can better prepare our country this time around.

“If we had better capacity to collect information overseas when these things first emerge, we would be learning much faster. On a month long head start on a crisis like this, this can make a big difference.” Gottlieb said.

One student says she is hopeful after listening to what Gottlieb had to say.

“I would say after hearing that I feel a lot more hopeful, especially if we have people. If he’s working with the CDC, if he wants to have leaders that strive to have something better for next time, just making sure we have a collective group that’s ready to formulate some new ideas.” said Amy Newcomer, Freshman at Penn State Behrend.

“The fact that we are coming towards the end and we may be doing that and taking more risk, I still personally feel more comfortable when I see everyone else wearing a mask,” said Jeff Allio, Attendee.

Gottlieb explained that even though most adults have chose to get vaccinated, he weighed in on why 19% of adults are hesitant from getting the shot.

“A lot of them have had COVID and they know they have COVID, so they don’t feel like they need to get the vaccine. The vaccine is still difficult to get. You still have to go get the appointment and it could be a long wait for a lot of people who work all day or take care of families at night, it could still be hard to get a vaccine.” Gottlieb said. “Obviously, there is evidence of declining efficacy over time and the boosters restore that. We just got data from a clinical trial that the boosters effectively restore the original premise of 95% protection of infection, hospitalization and spread of disease.”

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