Former FDA Commissioner: CDC Recommendations Do Not Automatically Translate into State Mandates

Melanie Arter | October 24, 2022 | 1:05pm EDT
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size
Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on May 2, 2022. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on May 2, 2022. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who serves on the board of Pfizer, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the CDC’s recommendation that children get vaccinated for COVID does not “automatically translate into state mandates” and it’s up to the governors to decide whether to mandate it.

Gottlieb explained that the CDC “took the recommendation that already existed for children to get vaccinated with the COVID vaccine, which was their general recommendation they issued last year, and they incorporated it into their formal recommendations, which are their permanent recommendations.”


Some people refer to it as their vaccine schedule. That doesn't translate into state mandates. There are a lot of vaccines in that schedule. For example, the flu vaccine is in that schedule. They recommend that for children. No states mandate that. The HPV vaccine is in the schedule. Only two states mandate the HPV vaccine for children to attend school, Virginia and Rhode Island.

Even the dengue fever vaccine is in the schedule, and, obviously, no states mandate the use of that. So, what got started on Twitter initially was that the CDC recommendations automatically translate into state mandates, which is not true.

One of the reasons why the CDC went ahead and made this formal recommendation is that it also allows the vaccines to be incorporated into the Vaccines for Children's Program, which provides federal funding for indigent kids to get access to vaccines, and so that's part of the impetus, but there will be no state mandates. 

Quite frankly, I don't think there should be state mandates. I don't think we're at the point right now where we should be considering mandating this vaccine as a condition to attend school. While I think every child should seek out this vaccine, parents should strongly consider vaccinating their kids, I don't think it should be mandated by states, and I wouldn't expect to see any state mandating this vaccine.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. Thank you for your clarity on that, because the misinformation -- misinformation, you just said, started on Twitter. Tucker Carlson amplified it, but, as we just showed our viewers, you see a number of candidates and sitting governors spreading this. You have presidential candidate potentially Mike Pompeo. You have the governor of Virginia, the governor of Utah, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, the GOP candidate for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake. They're all putting out tweets with this false idea.

GOTTLIEB: Right. And…

BRENNAN: So there's clearly a political force in an anti-vaccine sentiment.

GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I think, from a public health standpoint, the more that this becomes a political matter, and the more people make this a political matter, the campaign against mandates bleeds into a campaign against the vaccine itself, and people generally don't take away the nuance of those messages, if there is any nuance in those messages in the first place. 

They hear the skepticism against the vaccine, and then they're less likely to consider it for themselves, even where it makes sense from a clinical standpoint. I didn't see a lot of people stepping up and saying, look, my state won't mandate the vaccine. 

We believe these are decisions that should be left to pediatricians and parents, but I would strongly encourage parents to make sure that their children are up to date with all the available vaccines, especially in advance of this flu and COVID season.

That would have been an appropriate message, in my view, for a governor to say who wanted to say, look, we're not going to mandate it, but we still think it's important.

donate
mrc merch