Eisenhower Executive Office Building
South Court Auditorium
Good morning and thank you all for joining us today.
My name is Dr. Vivek Murthy, and I am honored to serve as the Surgeon General of the United States. In my role, I’m charged with looking out for the health and wellbeing of every American.
I consider this to be a sacred responsibility particularly in this grave moment when we are living through a once in a century pandemic.
We all know that COVID-19 has caused tremendous suffering for millions of Americans. Many of us have lost family members to this virus – I myself have lost 7 including my uncle Raman earlier this year. Many of us have felt what it’s like to be worried sick about your loved ones getting COVID, especially elderly family members and those who work on the front lines. Each day my father and sister went to work in their medical practice over the last year, I couldn’t help but fear this was the day they would be exposed to the virus. And during this pandemic, people have lost many other things – jobs, the chance to go to school, and the possibility of holding loved ones close. The fact that this pandemic has affected some far more than others has also underscored the profound racial and geographic disparities in health that have long plagued our nation.
But despite the heavy toll it has exacted, COVID has also reminded us of a fundamental truth: that we need each other. That our happiness and our survival depend on our connection to one another and our community.
Even as COVID separated us physically, so many people stepped up to help one another during this past year. Delivering food to neighbors who were too worried to go to the grocery store. Checking in on friends who were having a hard time. Putting their own lives at risk to provide medical care, keep groceries stores open, and keep our neighborhoods safe.
That spirit of community is what makes our country great, and it is what we need now more than ever as we seek to bring this pandemic to an end.
We are here today because all of you have agreed to be founding members of the COVID-19 Community Corps – a nationwide, grassroots network of leaders who are stepping up to protect your communities. Together, our goal is to help our communities get vaccinated and by doing so to stop the spread of the virus.
Even though nearly 100 million Americans have already received at least one shot, there are still millions of people who are not protected against the virus. But your leadership has the power to change that.
Collectively, you can reach millions of people with the facts about COVID and the COVID vaccine. Hearing the facts from trusted sources is what will help people make good decisions about their health. That’s why your involvement will save lives. It’s why we are so grateful to you for being a Community Corps leader.
As we begin our conversation and our work together, I’m reminded that this initiative is made possible by the hardworking men and women of the Administration who are committed to addressing COVID with the power of science, compassion, and partnership. That commitment starts at the very top. Having champions in the White House for public health is essential, and that is why I am so honored today to introduce one of our nation’s most important leaders – one who has broken barriers and lifted up communities. A leader who is kind and strong, and who has inspired millions of people including my son and daughter who took to calling her Kamala Aunty from the first time they saw her picture. Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris.