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Surgeon General Just Predicted What Happens Next

The Surgeon General warned that it’s “more important than ever” to protect yourself.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

COVID-19 cases are now up to 150,000+ a day, and are predicted to reach the heights of the pandemic last year. Although the most severe cases are among the unvaccinated—including children—vaccinated people are having breakthrough infections as well, and all infections can lead to "Long COVID," a debilitating illness that may never go away. With this in mind, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy spoke with Brianna Keilar on CNN's State of the Union to clarify why protecting yourself is "more important than ever"—and how you can do that. Read on for five essential pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Surgeon General Said Protecting Yourself Now is "More Important Than Ever"

Doctor's gloved hands using cotton before vaccine.

"What's important for us to realize is that we've had strong evidence, you know, from real world data, that this vaccine has been doing remarkably well and has maintained a strong safety profile. We've given it to hundreds of millions of people, and we've seen that it's doing its job. And that's why we're continuing to recommend that people get vaccinated starting today. And, you know, as soon as they can, because especially with the Delta variant, getting that protection is more important than ever," said Murthy. Read on to see what he says about when to get your booster shot—and what the "full approval" of the Pfizer vaccine means for you.

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Surgeon General Said the Full Approval of the Pfizer Vaccine—Expected Tomorrow—Should Lead More People to Get Vaccinated

fda building

"We've known for a while that they were considering the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine," said Murthy of the FDA announcement. "And I anticipate that if and when that comes, that'll have two impacts. I think for people who have been waiting for this, and that's a small number of people, but I think still significant: I think this may tip them over toward getting vaccinated, but I also think that for businesses and universities that have been thinking about putting requirements in place in order to create safer spaces for people to work and learn, I think that this move from the FDA, when it comes, will actually help them to move forward with those kinds of plans."

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Surgeon General Said Get Your Boosters When They Become Available to You

Doctor holding Pfizer Biontech vaccine against coronavirus COVID disease

"It's our responsibility to make sure people know what the science is telling us about the COVID and about the vaccine protection, and then to help people to get those booster shots when that time comes," says Murthy. There was a waning, a reduction in the protection against mild to moderate infection. And our worry was as time went on that we may start to see an erosion and the protection against the worst outcomes of COVID. That's why we're not recommending a booster today because you still have good protection from the vaccines. But the week of September 20th pending the FDA and CDC advisory groups weighing in that is when we are planning to start the booster shots and we'll do everything we can building on our experience from the last few months to make sure people have access to the booster shots and to make sure they have the accurate information from credible sources." He said advice was still to come for those who got the J&J vaccine.

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Surgeon General Said You Should Expect More Vaccine Mandates—and They Can Help Save Kids

Child with face mask getting vaccinated

"We already know that there are many businesses and universities that have moved toward vaccine requirements," said Murthy. "And I think that's a very reasonable thing to do, to create a safe environment. There's only one other thing I think we need to do that some states have been doing to create a safer school environment, and that's requiring that employees in the school, including teachers and other staff are vaccinated as well to create a safer environment for our kids. I think all of these are reasonable because when we're faced with the most transmissible variant that we've seen to date—the Delta variant—when we have our kids, essentially is the point of concern here in our schools and their health and wellbeing on the line. We've got to take every step we can. And so I think that these measures, these requirements we're seeing are absolutely reasonable."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek