coronavirus

Dr. Gottlieb Says Offices That Mandate Employees Be Vaccinated Don't Need More Covid Precautions

Aaron P. Bernstein | Reuters
  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Thursday that offices that require employees to be vaccinated likely don't need to mandate additional precautions against Covid.
  • "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," the former FDA chief said, adding that vaccinated people still need to stay vigilant.
  • Citing "declining vaccine efficacy," Gottlieb said people vaccinated between six and nine months ago should be able to get booster shots.

Businesses that require office-based employees to get Covid vaccinations likely don't need to institute more precautions against the virus, even amid the delta variant surge, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Thursday.

"I think businesses right now probably don't need to be implementing additional measures" such as regimented virus testing, Gottlieb told co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin on "Squawk Box."

"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," added Gottlieb, who was commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 2017 to 2019 and is a board member at several companies including vaccine maker Pfizer.

Gottlieb pointed to real-world evidence in Israel that shows "people who get vaccinated and get infected are spreading within the household but not spreading it outside the household."

Vaccinated people still need to be vigilant against the virus and get tested if they have a viral illness, he said.

"You're certainly seeing infection rates go up among the vaccinated population. People who were vaccinated a while ago are more susceptible to Covid. Eventually some of those infections are going to result in bad outcomes," he said.

The number of businesses mandating their employees be vaccinated has grown in recent days, with McDonald's on Wednesday becoming the latest corporate giant to institute such a policy. The fast-food chain's vaccine edict applies to its corporate workforce.

Gottlieb said he expects more companies to follow suit, especially those that want employees to return to the office this fall after more than a year of remote work. He cited the government's vaccination requirement for U.S. military members and federal workers — as well as the potential full authorization by the FDA of the Covid vaccines — as "additional impetus to businesses" that will "give them the confidence that they have the legal ground to stand on in terms of requiring vaccination."

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, health-care tech company Aetion and biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' and Royal Caribbean's "Healthy Sail Panel."

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