Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA head and current Pfizer board member, appeared with Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He was there to discuss the COVID-19 vaccination, as well as ongoing mandate efforts.
During the interview, there was a much broader conversation about booster shots following a vaccination process. Brennan asked Dr. Gottlieb if the CDC should define “fully vaccinated” as those who have had COVID booster shots.
The “Face the Nation” host reminded Gottlieb that there are governors in Connecticut and New Mexico who are saying that having three doses is being fully vaccinated. So she point-blank asked if the CDC should be saying that you need a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated.
Gottlieb replied saying that he believes at some point that is what the CDC will be saying, but it will not be this year.
He continued: “I think eventually this will be considered a three-dose vaccine, but I would be hard-pressed to believe CDC is going to make that recommendation any time soon, in part because of this debate about whether or not younger people who are at less risk should be receiving that third dose.”
The doctor further explained that there are states where governors are wanting to describe it as a three-dose vaccine and some local communities are wanting to do this as well. He also believes that some businesses are probably going to make this change, too.
Gottlieb believes that there are cases where entities are going to mandate three doses for people who are six months out from the second dose. They are doing that because they are using the vaccine as a way to control transmission and trying to end this pandemic.
Gottlieb said the CDC is currently “sort of stuttering” on making that recommendation. And, if the CDC is stuttering, it leaves everyone confused. It’s yet another example of how the CDC can’t seem to send a solid message throughout this pandemic.
The doctor described two views about the goal of boosters. He said if vaccines are meant to protect people from severe Covid infections, they should be recommended for people over 50. Immunity from vaccines lessens in older people after six months, and it places them at increased risk for a serious infection and, as Gottlieb said, a bad outcome.
But, he added, if the goal of boosters is to slow or stop transmission of the coronavirus, they should be recommended for younger people. Boosters may not help those individuals avoid severe disease because their immunity is already good, Dr. Gottlieb said, but they can prevent younger people from infecting others.
This interview happened on the heels of the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) saying that it was suspending its enforcement of the Biden administration rule that ordered businesses with more than 100 employees to either require their workers get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
Gottlieb seemed to stutter himself when he said that it was not appropriate for businesses to mandate vaccines, but there were certain businesses that absolutely should be mandating vaccinations in their workplaces. He talked about settings where you have a lot of employees working very closely together. He said it was hard to work in a masked environment perpetually. But the doctor summed it up by saying that the fight over vaccine rules has become a “political fight at a national level.”
“The end result is that I think businesses that we’re going to move forward on mandates have moved forward and businesses that are reluctant to do it are probably going to wait in place and see what happens with the outcome of this litigation involving OSHA,” Gottlieb said.
So there you have it…OSHA’s good news from last week is being followed by this three-dose threat from a former FDA head. The saga continues…