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Gottlieb: Vaccines 'should be a backstop' against UK variant

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Dozens of mask-less, anti-vaccine protesters briefly forced officials to close the COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles as hundreds of people waited in their cars to receive doses.

That's according to local media citing the Los Angeles Fire Department. Officials said the site, one of the largest in the country, was closed for about an hour on Saturday because protesters blocked the entrance.

Of the nearly 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine that have been distributed across the U.S., about 31 million doses have been administered, according to data published Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The dash to inoculate Americans comes as fast-spreading coronavirus variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa have been detected in the U.S.

Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said there is evidence to suggest the U.K. variant causes more severe illness and is roughly 50% more transmissible but said vaccines "should be a backstop" against it.

GOTTLIEB: "That's not the case with the Brazilian the South African variant P.1. and B.1.351, where prior infection, immunity you get from being infected as well as the immunity you get from vaccination, does not appear to be as protective against those variants."

Clinical trial data on two COVID-19 vaccines from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson show they were significantly less effective at preventing COVID-19 in trial participants in South Africa, where the potent new variant is widespread.

The U.S. leads the world with more than 26 million infections and nearly 440,000 coronavirus-related deaths reported since the pandemic began.

Video Transcript

- Dozens of maskless anti vaccine protesters briefly forced officials to close the COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles as hundreds of people waited in their cars to receive doses. That's according to local media, citing the Los Angeles Fire Department. Officials said the site, one of the largest in the country, was closed for about an hour on Saturday because protesters blocked the entrance.

Of the nearly 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine that have been distributed across the US, about 31 million doses have been administered, according to data published Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The dash to inoculate Americans comes as fast spreading coronavirus variants, first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa, have been detected in the US.

SCOTT GOTTLIEB: It does suggest that it's more pathogenic.

- Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said there is evidence to suggest the UK variant causes more severe illness and is roughly 50% more transmissible. But said vaccines should be a backstop against it.

SCOTT GOTTLIEB: That's not the case with the Brazilian and South African variant, P1 and B 1351, where prior infection immunity you get from being infected, as well as the immunity you get from vaccination, does not appear to be as protective against those variants.

- Clinical trial data on two COVID-19 vaccines from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson show they were significantly less effective at preventing COVID-19 in trial participants in South Africa, where the potent new variant is widespread. The US leads the world with more than 26 million infections and nearly 440,000 coronavirus-related deaths reported since the pandemic began.