U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy’s top priority is ending the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccines. The delta variant is spreading faster than any previous mutation, threatening the unvaccinated at an unprecedented level. Washington Post health policy reporter Paige Winfield Cunningham will interview Murthy about efforts to reach the unvaccinated, especially in the most vulnerable communities, as well as the vaccines’ efficacy against the variants.

Highlights

Washington Post reporter Paige Winfield Cunningham asks: “Have you heard anything from Facebook, have you set up a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg?” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy responds: "We’ve been talking with and working with many of these companies over the last many months… But what we also want to do is make sure there’s accountability here. That there’s transparency in what people are doing." (Washington Post Live)
As vaccination rates vary across the United State, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said counties have the right to impose strategies on the local level–like reinstating mask mandates–to keep their citizens safe. “l think LA county and other counties have the right to make decisions about how best to protect folks from covid and that includes around masks… What we are seeing is a shift to a more and more local and regional strategies because we have very different vaccination rates.” (Washington Post Live)
“I’m going to defer to the FDA on their reasons for their decisions around prioritization and time schedule, but what I can say about the vaccine whether it’s Pfizer’s vaccine or Moderna’s vaccine getting full approval is that there are some people for whom that would be helpful. We know from surveys that some people say ‘Gosh, if it went through the regular approval process and was fully approved’ that that would change their mind.’” (Washington Post Live)
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said while hospitalizations and deaths could be on the rise, he doesn’t believe they’ll be “nearly as bad as” in January. “Because we are seeing the cases primarily crop up in people who are unvaccinated, I am worried about hospitalizations and deaths. I don’t think it will be nearly as bad as… January... Unfortunately, we’re going to see this get worse before it gets better.” (Washington Post Live)

Vivek H. Murthy, MD

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2021 to serve as the 21st Surgeon General of the United States as a returning role. As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General’s mission is to restore trust by relying on the best scientific information available, providing clear, consistent guidance and resources for the public, and ensuring that we reach our most vulnerable communities As the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Murthy commands a uniformed service of 6,000 dedicated public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations domestically and abroad.

During his previous tenure as 19th Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy has created initiatives to tackle our country’s most pressing public health challenges. As “America's Doctor he helped lead the national response to a range of health challenges, including the Ebola and Zika viruses, the opioid crisis, and the growing threat of stress and loneliness to Americans' physical and mental wellbeing. He also issued the first Surgeons General’s report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, in which he challenged the nation to expand access to prevention and treatment and to recognize addiction as a chronic illness, not a character flaw. Dr. Murthy continued the office’s legacy on preventing tobacco-related disease, releasing a historic Surgeon General’s report on e-cigarettes and youth.

Prior to his tenure as Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy co-founded VISIONS, a global HIV/AIDS education organization; the Swasthya Project, a rural health partnership that trained women in South India to become community health workers and educators; TrialNetworks, a technology company dedicated to improving collaboration and efficiency in clinical trials; and Doctors for America, a nonprofit mobilizing physicians and medical students to improve access to affordable care. His scientific research has focused on vaccine development and the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials. And as an internal medicine doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Murthy cared for thousands of patients over the years and trained undergraduates, medical students, and medical residents.

Raised in Miami, Dr. Murthy received his bachelor of arts degree from Harvard, his masters in business administration from the Yale School of Management, and his MD from the Yale School of Medicine. A renowned physician, research scientist, entrepreneur, and author of the bestselling book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, Dr. Murthy is among the most trusted voices in America on matters of public health. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two children