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Gottlieb says Biden administration made mistake in federalizing vaccine mandates

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Sunday said the Biden administration made a mistake by federalizing vaccine mandates “in ways that they didn’t have to.”

“I think once the federal government, the Biden administration, stepped in and federalized aspects of this response, they owned it and created a perception that they alone could fix it,” Gottlieb told moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The Biden administration announced a vaccine-or-test mandate for all private employers with 100 or more employees in September, which the Supreme Court blocked last week.

The high court did, however, rule 5-4 that the vaccine-only mandate for health providers at federally funded facilities could be implemented.

Vaccine mandates have been a key point of friction in the country’s coronavirus response and a major point of criticism in Republican circles. Multiple GOP governors have made moves to reject the mandates in their states. 

Gottlieb on Sunday also said the administration made a mistake by blaming the Trump administration for problems involving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies, noting that the entities “had deep flaws.”

“I think the administration made some mistakes at a macro level. The first was buying into this prevailing narrative when they took office that a lot of the problems, if not all the problems, at CDC and from the federal public health agencies owed to the Trump administration and their mishandling of those agencies,” Gottlieb said.

“Now, notwithstanding what the Trump administration did or didn’t do to try to reform those agencies and interfere in their operations, the reality is those agencies had deep flaws, and it made it hard to reform the agencies once you bought into that … macro narrative,” he added.

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