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Surgeon General Just Busted This Immunity Myth

Vivek Murthy says you natural immunity may not be enough to protect you from Delta.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

With the Delta variant of the coronavirus causing a rise in cases, deaths and hospitalizations, especially among the unvaccinated, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy appeared on CNN to clarify some misconceptions about immunity. Read on for 5 points of information that could save your life—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.


The Surgeon General Warned Your Natural Immunity is Not Necessarily Enough to Stop the Delta Variant

CNN played a clip of a gentleman saying he refused to get vaccinated because he had natural immunity and "Why would you want to interfere?" Dr. Murthy said, "First, I wouldn't say anything. I would listen. I would try to understand what his concerns are, what he's heard about natural immunity compared to vaccine related immunity. And then I'd try to talk to him about what we've understood, actually, from the studies about natural immunity, we are seeing more and more data that tells us that while you get some protection from natural infection, it's not nearly as strong as what you get from the vaccine, especially with the Delta variant, which is the hardiest and most contagious variant we've seen to date. We need all the protection that we can get. That's why the vaccines are so effective."


Surgeon General Says Here's Where You Can Find Reliable Info About COVID

Doctor and senior woman wearing facemasks

Some of the vaccine hesitancy "is about trust and you can repair trust overnight or in one conversation," said Murthy. "And so sometimes the conversations we have may not seem to move the needle at all, even if we are armed with the facts and with the science. And that's why the messenger matters. In addition to the message, this effort to protect our country against COVID-19, by getting people vaccinated. This has to be a people powered effort that we build all across America. This is not just about what the government can do. This is not just about what hospitals will do. It's about the choice that we make to pick up the phone, call our family and friends, ask them if they've been vaccinated, hear them out. They haven't been, but then help them get the facts and get a place that they can get vaccinated, which they can easily now find at"

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Surgeon General Warned About The Misinformation Out There

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"We've certainly seen much more awareness around the risk and the consequences of health misinformation," said Murthy. "We've seen more engagement with some of the technology platforms and actually a growing, I think, awareness and interest from the public and the steps that they can take to reduce this misinformation, including by being more selective about what they share online. So that's all good news, but the challenging news is that we still have a long way to go. We are still seeing misinformation spread like wildfire on social media sites in particular, we're still seeing many people in our communities, two thirds of our unvaccinated individuals, in fact who believe myths about COVID-19 vaccination, or think those myths might be true. And so we've got a lot of work to do."

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Murthy Said Beware "False" Equivalencies

older woman looking at laptop

Murthy called for news organizations "to make sure that they're providing context. Not just, for example, reporting on a side effect, but making sure people understand that that side effect might be incredibly rare. And in fact, much more aware than the consequences of actually getting ill….And we've got to avoid what I think of as a false equivalency, putting a credible source up against a source that is clearly, clearly not credible and saying, we're just hearing two types of points of view. That gives people the false impression that some of these myths and misinformation are believed by a large portion of people or by the scientific community. That's absolutely not the case."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Nurse with face mask sitting at home with senior woman and injecting covid 19 vaccine.

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