Surgeon general reflects on young daughter’s COVID-19 experience

▶ Watch Video: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and mental health during pandemic

The nation’s top doctor offered a personal reflection as a parent on Twitter Tuesday, after his 4-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said his daughter has a fever and sore throat, and given her young age and general health, she’ll likely be fine. But that hasn’t stopped Murthy from worrying, and from questioning his own decisions. No COVID-19 vaccine is yet approved for children under five.

“Staring at my daughter’s positive test, I asked myself the same questions many parents have asked: Will my child be ok?” Murthy shared in a Twitter thread on Tuesday. “Could I have done more to protect her? Was this my fault? In these moments, it doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor or Surgeon General. We are parents first.”

Murthy also shared how difficult it is to isolate his daughter from her vaccinated 5-year-old brother and mom in a small home, even though he said they’d likely be fine, too, since they’re all vaccinated. 


Pfizer announced last week that it is postponing its request to the Food and Drug Administration for approval of its vaccine for children younger than 5. 

“I wish a vaccine was available for my child and for all kids <5,” Murthy wrote. “It would protect kids and help parents. Unfortunately more data is still needed from clinical trials for the FDA to make a full assessment. I know a safe, effective vaccine for <5s remains a top priority for them.”

The surgeon general said his family’s experience has made him more thoughtful of one thing that divides Americans amid a pandemic that has become politically divisive. 

“The experience of the last few days has reminded me that despite our varied opinions about the pandemic, we all largely want the same thing: to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. I hope to remember this the next time I encounter someone with a different point of view,” he wrote. 

Murthy has consistently encouraged Americans to get vaccinated and get their booster shots as the best way to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s also encouraged parents to surround their children with vaccinated people, and attempt to get children to wear masks, while recognizing how challenging that can be with young kids. 

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