Businesses that require that their office-based workers get their COVID-19 vaccinations probably don't need to add even more precautions against the disease, even with the delta variant causing numbers to climb nationwide, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Thursday.
"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,'' Gottlieb, a board member of companies including vaccine manufacturer Pfizer, said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
The doctor referred to real-world evidence from Israel, where vaccinated people who got the infection spread it in their own households, but not so much elsewhere, but added that people who have had their shots still must be careful and be tested if they are ill.
He said he expects more companies to institute vaccination policies, especially ones that want their employees to return to the office rather than work remotely.
Vaccine requirements for federal employees and the military will also give businesses confidence that they have a legal ground for requiring vaccinations, said Gottlieb.
Gottlieb also appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday, where he said he believes COVID booster shots will be needed for people who are not immunocompromised, as well as for those who are.
The Food and Drug Administration is set to amend clearances for vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer to allow extra doses of the shots for people whose immune systems are compromised, such as transplant patients, who don't have an adequate response to the first course of the vaccine.
An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to discuss the booster shots on Friday, but Gottlieb said he believes that people who were vaccinated first, about 9 months ago, including those in nursing homes and health care workers, will need boosters as well.
"We do see evidence of declining effectiveness over time," said Gottlieb. "We thought that might be the case so this shouldn't be a surprise. We do think people who were vulnerable and vaccinated a long time ago, we should be contemplating giving boosters to that population."
He pointed again to Israel, where people aged 60 and older started getting booster shots last week and said those shots should be finished by the end of this week.
"We'll probably get good evidence in the week on what the performance is," Gottlieb said.
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