Public/Global Health

Surgeon general’s 4-year-old daughter tests positive for COVID-19


Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a Twitter thread on Tuesday that his 4-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19, prompting him to wonder if there was more he could have done to protect her. 

In a series of reflective tweets, Murthy urged the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and said “the more we all get vaccinated and take precautions, the more we can protect all our kids.”

He added that while he wishes there was a vaccine available for his daughter and other children under 5 years of age, “unfortunately more data is still needed from clinical trials for the FDA to make a full assessment.” However, he said it continues to remain a top priority.

In the thread, Murthy said his daughter had a fever and sore throat and “isn’t her usual bubbly self,” but added that he’s glad his family, including his 5-year-old son, are all vaccinated, as it’s hard to isolate a young child from the rest of their family.

The surgeon general also shared a series of questions he asked himself after his daughter’s positive test: “I asked myself the same questions many parents have asked: Will my child be ok? Could I have done more to protect her? Was this my fault?”

He added that it’s in moments like this that “it doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor or Surgeon General. We are parents first.”

“I have immense respect for the millions of parents who are grappling with the daily, exhausting decision-making that goes into protecting our kids’ health and their education,” he wrote.

Murphy also recognized people with different views on the pandemic in his tweets, writing “despite our varied opinions about the pandemic, we all largely want the same thing: to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.” He said he hopes to remember “this the next time I encounter someone with a different point of view.”

In a major disappointment to parents of young kids, Pfizer and BioNTech said this month they are delaying completing their request for the Food and Drug Administration to authorize their coronavirus vaccine for children under 5 years old because there’s not enough data on the efficacy of a third dose.

Pfizer had began applying for emergency use authorization of its vaccine in kids ages 6 months to 4 years old in February. It had said three doses will be needed, but the application was only for two doses.

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