Getting to herd immunity before next school year 'an ambitious goal,' says surgeon general nominee

Getting to herd immunity before next school year 'an ambitious goal,' says surgeon general nominee
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Dr. Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyMurthy vows to focus on mental health effects of pandemic if confirmed as surgeon general The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Watch live: Biden surgeon general pick testifies at confirmation hearing MORE, President Biden’s nominee for surgeon general, said on Sunday that achieving herd immunity was an “ambitious goal,” while stressing that vaccine distribution should be the main focus.

Murthy told ABC’s “This Week” host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosKhashoggi colleague: 'Why are we making an alliance with a dictator?' Fauci on Johnson & Johnson vaccine: 'Just be really grateful' Portman on Trump's dominance of GOP: Republican Party's policies are 'even more popular' MORE in response to a question about whether herd immunity could be achieved by the beginning the next academic school year that it was somewhat possible.

“Well, I think that's an ambitious goal. I think what — I think we can see improvement. I think we can see reductions in cases and hospitalizations and deaths. I think we can see many more people immunized,” said Murthy, who also served as Surgeon General under former President Obama.

“But I think what's important here, rather than focusing on a specific number in terms of percentage of the population for herd immunity, is to recognize that, the more people we vaccinate, the better we will do, the fewer outbreaks we will see, the sooner we can get back to our way of life,” Murthy added.

Murthy also discussed Biden’s 100-day plan to administer 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Stephanopoulos noted that criticisms have been lobbed at the seeming inequity in vaccine distribution, with wealthier areas receiving more doses.

“We already know from the COVID crisis over the past year that there are certain communities that have been hard hit by this virus, that rural communities have had a harder time getting access to resources, that communities of color have experienced more cases and deaths, that seniors have struggled, especially those in long-term facilities,” said Murthy.

“We have got to make sure that we have data on where the vaccine is being administered, so that we can ensure that it, in fact, is being distributed equitably.”