Days after revealing that his 4-year-old daughter has COVID-19, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced on Twitter Friday that he, his wife, and 5-year-old son also have tested positive for the virus.
“Our son has a runny nose and low-grade fever but is otherwise eating, drinking, playing with his sister, and watching his favorite cartoons,” Murthy wrote.
His daughter, who came down with the virus first, is “doing OK,” Murthy said. “Fevers are starting to improve. She’s still congested and is now hoarse from all the coughing, but thankfully she’s still smiling and enjoying her arts and crafts.”
The timeline for authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 has been pushed back to allow more time to collect data on a third dose, leaving some parents frustrated.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that when Dr. Debra Langlois learned last week that federal regulators had delayed the review of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for children under 5, she was incredulous. “I was like, Are you kidding me? Every day my daughter can’t be vaccinated, she’s at risk.”
As the parent of young children, Murthy said he can relate.
“I wish a vaccine was available for my child and for all kids <5,” he tweeted earlier this week. “It would protect kids and help parents. Unfortunately more data is still needed from clinical trials for the FDA to make a full assessment. I know a safe, effective vaccine for <5s remains a top priority for them.”
In his Twitter thread, Murthy promoted the practice of vaccination.
“One major source of peace of mind for us: we and our son are vaxed/boosted,” he said. “Vaccines are very effective at saving our lives and keeping us out of the hospital. As parents, I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to know we’ll be able to care for our kids even if we get infected.”
The surgeon general also spoke to the shame some people feel when they’ve gotten COVID-19 after being vaccinated and following recommended health measures.
“When you’ve been as safe as you can, getting COVID-19 can be frustrating and disappointing,” Murthy wrote. “I’ve felt that. It can also be a source of shame. Many people assume you must have been careless to get sick. Our safety measures reduce risk but they can’t eliminate risk. Nothing can.”
Dr. Eric Ascher, a family medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told USA Today that he has seen many different types of patient reactions to catching COVID-19.
“Your positive test does not make you a failure, it makes you a human living in a pandemic with a virus that is very contagious,” he said.
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