AgNet Media Interview with US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy on COVID-19 in Rural Areas

Dan Coronavirus, General

National leaders are telling rural America to brace for the Omicron surge. While many rural areas have not yet faced a surge like urban areas, it’s likely to happen within the next few weeks. AgNet Media National Correspondent Sabrina Halvorson spoke with US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy about how the surge is affecting rural areas compared to urban.

US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy speaks with AgNet Media National Correspondent Sabrina Halvorson

Halvorson: The Omicron surge hasn’t affected rural areas as much as cities yet. But when it does, rural areas are often less equipped. So, what do rural residents need to know right now?

Dr. Murthy: (in part) One thing we have learned over the last two years of this pandemic is that ultimately urban and rural areas both are affected by these waves and we’re already starting to see in fact that rural parts of the country are starting to feel the impacts of Omicron not even just directly with increasing case numbers of omicron but as hospital systems get strained as urban and suburban areas have a larger number of cases, this actually impacts health care systems throughout the region and can make it harder to get routine care…

Dr. Murthy’s answer continues. Listen to the full question and answer here:

Halvorson: Rural residents also have a lower vaccination rate, and in some circles, there seems to be distrust of medical and scientific information. Now that we’ve had time to learn more about COVID-19 and its variants, how do we bridge that distrust?

Dr. Murthy: (in part) When I look at this pandemic as a doctor, as a public health person, I see a virus that doesn’t care about our political affiliation or about anything else. It’s affecting people of all backgrounds, of all types, of all ages as well. And all I really want is for people to be able to protect themselves and their families. I think we all want that. What we’ve learned in the past year in particular, after giving over 500 million doses of the vaccine in the United States alone, is we’ve learned two really important things. Number one, these vaccines work to save our lives and to keep us out of the hospital. That’s true for children as well…

Dr. Murthy’s answer continues. Listen to the full question and answer here:

Halvorson: (On the safety of vaccines) I’ve heard from people who think the vaccine was created in a matter of weeks and therefore is unsafe, where in reality, this vaccine has taken a long time. How do you explain that?

Dr. Murthy: It’s a really important question, Sabrina, because there is a lot of misinformation out there about the vaccine itself, about how it was developed, about its safety, about its effectiveness. Here’s what people need to know: This didn’t come about over night. It was a remarkable success story based on the collaboration and hard work of scientists from around the world who put their heads together and said ‘we’ve got to do this well, we’ve got to create something that’s safe and effective, and we’ve got to do it the best we can without cutting any corners.’ And that’s what they ultimately did. The mRNA platform that is being used to create some of these vaccines like the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, these platforms have been in development for two decades. One thing that was certainly not cut in the development of the vaccines was the safety and testing processes. These vaccines were put through the same rigorous clinical trials that any other vaccine is put through…

Dr. Murthy’s answer continues. Listen to the full question and answer here:

Listen to the full interview:

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