“Nothing is going to stop us from getting together, and we are going to get together for Thanksgiving and we are going to get together for Christmas,” the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner said on “Squawk Box.” He is now on the board of directors of vaccine maker Covid Pfizer.
Gottlieb’s comments came a day after White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said in an interview with CBS that it was “just too early to tell” whether large group gatherings for Christmas would be sure.
“We just need to focus on keeping those numbers down and not trying to go forward weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at some point,” Fauci said on “Face the Nation”, referring to the fact that coronavirus cases in the United States have increased in recent months due to the highly transmissible delta variant.
“Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to reduce these cases, and we can do that by having people vaccinated and also, if the boosters are appropriate, to ensure that people are stimulated, because we know they can greatly help reduce infection and decrease advanced disease, ”added Fauci.
In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans not to travel on Thanksgiving to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. A similar warning was then issued for the December vacation.
Gottlieb said last year his family did not hold a Thanksgiving rally due to the pandemic.
On Monday, however, he suggested this fall be different with Covid vaccinations for adults widely available. Gottlieb also said Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine could be authorized for emergencies for children aged 5 to 11 as early as Halloween.
Currently, the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is fully approved in the United States for people 16 years of age and older and with emergency clearance for adolescents 12 to 15 years of age. Last month, Pfizer recalls for older Americans, people at risk and frontline workers were laid off.
Also in the United States, Moderna’s two-shot Covid vaccine is cleared for emergency use for adults 18 years of age and older. Johnson & Johnson’s single injection vaccine is also used in emergencies for adults. Next week, the FDA will meet to consider booster injections for Moderna and J&J beneficiaries.
“I think what people need to do is judge what the prevalence is in their local community and what the risk is in their family setting,” said Gottlieb, who led the FDA from 2017 to 2019 in the Trump administration.
“If you have older people, young, unvaccinated children who could introduce infection into this environment, people should just be careful,” he added. ” Use [Covid] tests as a means of securing this kind of encounter. But nothing is going to prevent us from being able to gather around the holidays this year. “
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and serves on the boards of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, health technology company Aetion, and biotech company Illumina. He is also co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings‘ and Royal Caribbean‘s “Healthy sail panel. “