On Thursday, during a press briefing at the White House, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy not only urged all Americans who have not been vaccinated to get a jab at the earliest but also became candid and said that he has lost 10 family members to COVID-19, both in India and in the U.S., one of whom was a favorite uncle in the U.S.
Murthy told reporters that he spoke as someone who has lost 10 family members to COVID-19. He said that each and every day he wished that they had an opportunity to get vaccinated. He also said it was “painful” to know that almost every death that has been currently occurring could have been prevented with vaccines.
He mentioned that vaccine misinformation was one of the main reasons for vaccine hesitancy among many. He also said that social media had amplified the misinformation. Murthy said that it should be recognized that sometimes the most trusted voices were not the ones who had the most followers on social media or the ones who had the most name recognition.
Although he has commented earlier this year on his personal losses to COVID-19, this time the surgeon general of the nation was speaking after the release of an advisory on the ways to confront misinformation about the virus. He said that everyone has a “role in the fight of misinformation.”
He requested people to double-check sources before sharing information on social media as myths abound and he also said that “not sharing is caring” when speaking about the huge amounts of scientific misinformation that has been shared. He said Americans should be guided by science.
The document called “Confronting Health Misinformation” includes suggestions on how educators, health professionals, individuals, researchers, technology platforms, foundations and media can play impactful roles to prevent the proliferation of misinformation. This document suggests a “whole-of-society” effort to arrest its spread.
Just as the nation is facing the highly transmitted delta variant, misinformation about vaccine is also spreading through social media and unscientific reports. Incidentally, 99.5 percent of those who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. had not received a vaccine.