Anthony Scaramucci, founder and co-managing partner of SkyBridge, told CNBC on Friday he has mandated Covid shots at his hedge fund’s office.
He also called on all eligible Americans to go out and get vaccinated.
“We’re a private company. If somebody wants to fight me over the vaccine mandate, that’s fine. Let’s take it to the court,” Scaramucci said on “Squawk Box,” while imploring other firms to follow suit.
“Make a decision. You’re a private company. Let’s cut it out. We’ve got to keep people safe. Get vaccinated. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, leave. That should be the message, and people will start getting vaccinated.”
Scaramucci’s comments come at a critical juncture in the coronavirus pandemic, as the U.S. sees a spike in new infections linked to the highly transmissible delta variant and as health officials scramble to combat Covid vaccine hesitancy and opposition.
Roughly 49% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 56.4% have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people in the country who received shots got vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, which require two doses. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires one shot. Those are the only three approved for emergency use in the U.S.
However, vaccination rates have slowed considerably since mid-April, when the seven-day average of daily doses administered topped 3.4 million. As of July 17, the weekly average of daily doses administered was just under 450,000, according to CDC data.
Scaramucci, who had a brief stint as White House communications director in the Trump administration, sought to push back on various conspiracy theories about the Covid vaccines. He stressed they are safe and effective at preventing severe disease and death and have been shown to reduce transmission of the virus.
“I don’t have a microchip in my body. It didn’t genetically alter my cells. What it’s doing is protecting me from the worst pandemic in last 100 years, and it’s allowing our economy to open up,” Scaramucci said, noting he also sees it as his responsibility as a father of kids who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine. “If you have young children … vaccinate yourself to protect your children.”
Scaramucci acknowledged that some people may be distrustful of government and large institutions, but he said the science of vaccination is clear. The more Americans who get vaccinated, the better for the entire country, he said.
“I don’t like the totalitarian nonsense. It’s not about that. This is about once in a while we have to team up as a society to protect each other,” Scaramucci said. “If we all get vaccinated, we’re going to be out into society faster and the economy is going to grow faster, and there will be more jobs and more income.”
Companies requiring their employees to be vaccinated has been a contentious issue throughout the pandemic, in part because the Food and Drug Administration has only granted emergency use authorization for the three vaccines.
Former FDA chief and Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb told “Squawk Box” he expects businesses and organizations to take a more authoritative position on vaccination requirements once full regulatory approval is given.
“As we head into the fall and the winter, hopefully the vaccines achieve full approval, … I think you’re going to see more mandates get put in place. Certainly, in the health-care setting you’re starting to see that become more commonplace,” he said.
“Business wants to restart. People want to restart activities, and to the extent that the vaccines are going to provide an added measure to be able to do that safely, and protect venues where you’re bringing people together, I think you’re going to see more sports teams, more business venues, start to mandate vaccination.”
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, health-care tech company Aetion Inc. and biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ and Royal Caribbean’s “Healthy Sail Panel.”