In Conversation with the Surgeon General about COVID-19 Misinformation, Vaccines, Variants and More


“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, the nation’s doctor, quoted that African proverb this week in a webinar the CDC Foundation hosted for community-based organizations (CBOs) and their partners.

Dr. Murthy acknowledged the critical role CBOs have in the emergency response to the pandemic. “They do what government often can’t do; what businesses often can’t do. They show up where people are, understand their needs and tailor responses to meet those needs,” Murthy said.

The Surgeon General, along with Capt. Janell A. Routh, a pediatrician and co-deputy of the implementation unit of CDC’s vaccine task force provided an update on COVID-19 misinformation, vaccines, variants and boosters during an hour-long conversation with CDC Foundation President and CEO Dr. Judy Monroe.

More than 1,100 people attended the webinar, hosted in cooperation with the Vaccine Equity Cooperative and Health Leads.

Among the key takeaways:

  • There’s a lot we still don’t know about the Omicron variant. But researchers in the United States and around the globe are sifting through data to determine transmissibility, severity of illness and responsiveness to vaccines. The best defense is still vaccination, so it’s important to encourage community members to get vaccinated if not already, boosted if eligible, and continue to practice hand hygiene and mask wearing in indoor public settings or a crowded environment.
  • In recent weeks, more than four million kids ages 5 to 11 have been vaccinated—well more than 10 percent of the 28 million eligible. With the onset of cold weather and more time spent indoors, it’s critical kids get vaccinated. The government is working to expand access sites to include pharmacies, doctors’ offices, children’s hospitals, mobile units and school-based events to meet people where they are—in places they are familiar with and trust.
  • If you’re someone who has vaccinated your child, share your story. People often feel more comfortable taking the same steps to which others can attest. This applies to adolescent and adult vaccinations too!
  • Answer kids’ questions about vaccines honestly and respectfully. They pick up on more than we realize. Doesn’t hurt to offer up a treat or sticker as well.
  • Listen, without judgment or blame. And share credible information from trusted sources. Health misinformation—which often spreads on social media or by word of mouth—continues to be a barrier to vaccine confidence. The Surgeon General’s office has developed a toolkit for communities with practical tips, advice and worksheets to combat misinformation.

To learn more, we invite you to watch the full webinar with the Surgeon General:

This webinar was the eighth in a series of CDC Foundation webinars for CBOs and their partners. They are all archived on our CBO Resource Page.

For additional information, email the CBO capacity-building assistance team at


This blog post is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $68,939,536 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.

Headshot of Hannah Buchdahl
Hannah Buchdahl is a COVID-19 Corps senior communications officer for the CDC Foundation.