Dr. Gottlieb: Offices with Vaccine Mandates Don’t Need More Coronavirus Precautions
Gottlieb says he expects the coronavirus to become an endemic virus in the United States and other Western countries after the Delta surge eventually subsides later this year.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, contends that companies that make vaccinations mandatory for their employees likely won’t need any additional precautions against the coronavirus.
“I think businesses right now probably don’t need to be implementing additional measures,” Gottlieb, a physician who worked at the FDA under former Republican Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush and now serves on the board of coronavirus vaccine maker Pfizer, said Thursday on CNBC.
“The belief is people who are vaccinated who develop the infection might be contagious early on in the course of the infection, but they clear the infection more quickly,” he continued.
In just the past few weeks, McDonald’s, United Airlines, Google, Facebook, Tyson Foods, Equinox, Walmart, and Disney have announced plans to require at least part of their workforce to get inoculated.
Vaccinated people still need to be highly vigilant against the contagion and get tested if they need to, Gottlieb added.
“You’re certainly seeing infection rates go up among the vaccinated population,” he noted. “People who were vaccinated a while ago are more susceptible to COVID. Eventually, some of those infections are going to result in bad outcomes.”
On Friday, Gottlieb told CNBC that he expects the coronavirus to become an endemic virus in the United States and other Western countries after the Delta surge eventually subsides later this year.
“We’re transitioning from this being a pandemic to being more of an endemic virus, at least here in the United States and probably other Western markets,” he said.
Third Vaccine Shot
Meanwhile, a key U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel—Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)—unanimously voted to recommend booster shots of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines to immunocompromised individuals. This decision is expected to clear a major hurdle in enabling vulnerable Americans to get a third dose of a vaccine.
“Over the past almost year and a half I have taken care of many patients with life-threatening disease, and including deadly disease, and even after a vaccination,” Dr. Camille Nelson Kotton, a transplant and infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the panel.
“They’re just suffering from a lack of good vaccine protection, we know that vaccine efficacy is diminished in this population,” she added.
The FDA had already approved third doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for “solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.” However, left off the list were recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine manufactured under its Janssen division.
“Currently there are no data to support the use of an additional mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose after a primary Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in immunocompromised people,” Dr. Neela Goswami, a Center for Disease Control and Prevention official, wrote in her presentation to ACIP.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.