4 former US surgeons general call for federal vaccine holiday

Four former U.S. surgeons general are calling on President Joe Biden to enact National Vaccine Day as a one-time federal holiday this year.

In a recent letter, the physicians express support for a holiday in the late spring focused on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and recognition of healthcare workers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic. The letter is signed by Antonia Novello, MD; Joycelyn Elders, MD; David Satcher, MD, PhD; and Richard Carmona, MD.

"Americans have endured incredible hardship over the last year. Many of us know someone who has died or fallen gravely ill from COVID-19. Historic numbers of Americans are unemployed and struggling to make ends meet," the physicians wrote. "But the advent of safe and effective vaccines provides a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccination has enabled humanity to triumph over terrible diseases like smallpox and measles. We now must launch a public health campaign to ensure that the same is true for COVID-19."

The former surgeons general said a National Vaccine Day could include scientists joining a public health education campaign through telethons and radio. They also propose Americans sharing their vaccination stories on social media, as well as researchers discussing initiatives to prevent the next pandemic.

According to ABC News, advocacy group 1Day Sooner conceived the idea for the federal holiday, and Dr. Carmona, after being approached by the group, helped garner support from other former surgeons general.

Read the physicians' full letter here

 

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