In an interview on CNBCs “Squawk Box” The former appointee for the Food and Drug Administration tried to downplay privacy concerns at the center of the opposition to the review requirements.
“The whole discussion about vaccination certificates has raised many concerns about whether or not people’s access to things they would otherwise do is restricted or not,” said Gottlieb, member of the board of directors of Pfizer“The use case for this information will likely allow access to things that would otherwise be restricted.”
Gottlieb pointed to visits to nursing homes or hospitals in the fall when he said he expected coronavirus cases to rise again. Last winter, “nursing homes banned visitors. Hospitals banned visitors,” he said. “You might see a situation where these facilities could allow visitors if they can prove they have been vaccinated.”
Information about Covid vaccines administered is entered into the same system used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track pediatric vaccinations, Gottlieb said. “The problem with the system is that it was never really designed to be accessible to consumers, so there really is no way for consumers to get any information right now to prove they have been vaccinated.”
The paper cards from the CDC people they are currently receiving when they take their Covid shots are unlikely to cut it either, he said. “These are now available on eBay. So people don’t accept the cards as proof of vaccination.”
Therefore, digital documentation of the Covid vaccine status should be available to Americans, he said. “How you use it is up to you,” said Gottlieb, who was FDA chief in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019.
Efforts to develop digital Covid vaccine records we are on the wayincluding a high profile group supported by Microsoft and the Mayo Clinic known as Vaccination Initiative. The coalition said earlier this month it hoped to make the technology it developed available in May.
IBM is Work with New York State on a digital health passport that uses blockchain technology to verify a person’s testing or vaccine credentials. Walmartshooting in their stores recently supported calls for vaccine certificates.
The debate about so-called vaccination certificates has controversialas some critics have voiced concerns about civil liberty. In Florida, for example, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order this month This prevents companies from requiring a person to demonstrate that they received a Covid vaccine as a requirement for service.
Last week the Biden administration did Vaccination records excluded at the federal level. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, “There won’t be a federal vaccination database or federal mandate that requires everyone to have a single vaccination certificate.”
Gottlieb said, “under certain circumstances,” he reckons that people will have to prove that they have been vaccinated against Covid. “I think people need to think differently about it,” he added. “Right now, as consumers, we don’t and shouldn’t have this information.”
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the boards of directors of Pfizer, the genetic testing startup Tempus, the healthcare technology company Aetion Inc., and the biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings‘ and royal caribbean“Healthy Sail Panel”. The Associated Press contributed to this report.