Gottlieb: Use ‘Big Carrots’ to Get Private Companies to Mandate COVID Shots


Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Sunday said there should be “big carrots” offered for private businesses mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees.

In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Gottlieb acknowledged he’s critical of President Joe Biden’s federal mandate for government workers being applied across the country at private companies.

“I would be trying to use big carrots rather than sticks when it comes to private businesses,” he said.

“I think that that’s where [the Biden administration] might have crossed the line, that really created more acrimony and gave people on the political right, frankly, something to now run against,” he said.

“Certainly, the federal government is well within its right with the mandates on federal workers. I think health care workers should be mandated to get vaccinated… I think a mandate inside the Medicare program makes a lot of sense — using the Medicare program to try to incentivize Medicare providers to get their populations vaccinated at higher levels. That’s going to protect a lot of senior citizens.”

“There’s certainly tools that the federal government has at its disposal,” he continued. “But I think when you’re getting down to private businesses in states, you want to see those decisions made by the businesses…at the local level. And I think the federal government could step in with incentives to try to drive that behavior.”

Gottlieb also called it “inevitable” COVID shots for children will be incorporated into childhood immunization schedules, but also urged that any wider mandate for adults be handled on local level.

“[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] ultimately has to take that up,” he said. “My guess is they’re not going to take that up until you have fully approved vaccines for children, until you have more than one vaccine in the market available to kids.”

According to Gottlieb, “these are not just individual choices, these are collective decisions.”

“We’ve always looked at vaccination as a collective decision,” he said. “That’s why we have a childhood immunization schedule because your behavior with respect to your choice around vaccination affects your community. That’s why I think the right locus of decision making around these mandates is as local a level as possible.”

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