With the numbers of new COVID-19 infections dropping, states are moving away from mask and vaccine mandates, and former Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Newsmax Monday that his focus is now on helping people make smart decisions to keep themselves safe.
"Get your vaccine; get your booster," Adams, who served under former President Donald Trump, said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "That's how I protect myself."
He noted that he was in Los Angeles this past week, and there were many events where vaccinations were required; but still, he does believe the people must be willing to be smart about COVID-19, particularly since children under the age of 5 still are not able to get their vaccinations.
Meanwhile, the move in many states toward personal choice is coming not only because of changes in science, but because "people are exhausted" from two years of the pandemic.
"The message was terrible and that frustrated people even further, so we have to be honest about that," said Adams. "What's also changed is we now have more people vaccinated.
"Omicron hit us in a way that caused more people to have some degree of, I think, natural immunity again. It's not as good at getting or as predictable of getting fully vaccinated and boosted, but there is some degree of natural immunity for people who are ready to move on."
Pfizer has paused its process for authoring the vaccine for the youngest children, but Adams said he believes the company will continue to work on it.
"Their job is to continue to investigate and to say when do the benefits exceed the risk, and I actually think that they're going to give parents a choice," Adams said. "At some point, the real debate is over whether they need two doses. Or three doses. But I've always said this isn't going to be a game-changer.
"You've got about 20% of 5- to 11-year-olds vaccinated. We're not going to have massive numbers of under-5 children vaccinated regardless when it gets approved, but it'll give people one more tool."
And, he added, the more tools there are, the more choices people will have about keeping themselves safe.
"We're going to be moving into a phase where people are going to be going out regardless, and we want them to have the maximum number of tools to do it safely," said Adams. "We've got to message it to them in a political way so that they understand.
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