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The coronavirus may "spread more aggressively" in the winter, leading to a spike in cases in those months, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

What he's saying: "In the wintertime, you see respiratory pathogens spread more aggressively, in part because people are indoors more, they're in congregate settings," Gottlieb said.

  • "[T]here is some impact of the cold weather on your ability to protect your upper airway from respiratory pathogens."
  • Gottlieb said coronaviruses are typically not summer pathogens, but a seasonal one that "really manifests itself in the fall and winter."

Worth noting: Gottlieb said there's an "extremely low" likelihood a coronavirus vaccine is available for widespread use before the end of the year, following reports the CDC has requested governors "urgently" speed up permit applications so vaccine distribution sites are operational by early November.

  • If a vaccine is available this year, Gottlieb said, it would likely be a "very staged introduction of the vaccine" for select groups that are at high risk for contracting the virus or for people who would be expected to have the worst outcomes from the disease.

Go deeper

How the U.S. might distribute a coronavirus vaccine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Now that there are glimmers of hope for a coronavirus vaccine, governments, NGOs and others are hashing out plans for how vaccines could be distributed once they are available — and deciding who will get them first.

Why it matters: Potential game-changer vaccines will be sought after by everyone from global powers to local providers. After securing supplies, part of America's plan is to tap into its military know-how to distribute those COVID-19 vaccines.

In photos: First coronavirus vaccines administered in the U.S.

The first doses of Pfizer's long-awaited coronavirus vaccine were distributed in the U.S. on Monday.

The state of play: Vaccines will first go to frontline health care workers followed by older and vulnerable populations. The distribution of Pfizer vaccine marks the beginning of a possible end of the coronavirus pandemic, and may soon be followed by a rollout of vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca.