“We already know that there are many businesses and universities that have moved toward vaccine requirements,” Murthy told CNN’s State of the Union. “And I think it’s a very reasonable thing to do to create a safe environment.”
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is trying to finish its licensing process for the lifesaving drug as soon as Monday, the New York Times has reported.
Until now, the Pfizer shot has been administered under an emergency use authorization, though experts continue to emphasize that it is safe and effective.
“We’ve given it to hundreds of millions of people,” Murthy said. “We’ve seen that it’s doing its job. And that’s why we’re continuing to recommend that people get vaccinated starting today and … as soon as they can.”
As the highly infectious Delta variant spreads, the US is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases. Many southern states are struggling for hospital capacity amid resistance from Republican leaders and the public to vaccinations and mask mandates.
The overwhelming majority of Covid hospitalizations and deaths in the US are among unvaccinated people.
As health misinformation continues to dog the pandemic response, some have started self-medicating with ivermectin – a drug intended for horses that the FDA has warned could lead to hospitalization.
“The best protection we have against Covid-19 is the vaccine, and if you get Covid-19, we actually do have treatments that work,” Murthy said.
“Ivermectin is not one of them.”
With the start of a new academic year, students across the US are returning to crowded school campuses. Yet younger children still aren’t eligible for the vaccine, and hospitals in hard-hit areas are running out of pediatric intensive care space.
“Unfortunately, in those places that they’re using politics to block good practice, we’re seeing hospitalizations through the roof for young children,” the education secretary, Miguel Cardona, told NBC’s Meet the Press.