Thaddeus Swanek Thaddeus Swanek
Senior Writer and Editor, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


August 26, 2021


This week’s Path Forward event featured U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in discussion with U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark.

The Path Forward, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event series, helps business and community leaders find the answers they need to execute a responsible reopening strategy for a post-pandemic world.

What Happened?
During the discussion, Dr. Murthy discussed the importance of vaccines for helping to prevent hospitalizations and death, how we can all help give our healthcare workers a break, and when a COVID vaccine for children might be available. He also pushed back against COVID vaccine myths and addressed workplace vaccine requirements.

What the Experts Are Saying

“Study after study continues proving that vaccines are effective in protecting against severe cases and hospitalization from COVID-19.” – Suzanne Clark, president and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“The good news is that we have over 200 million people in our country who have received at least one dose of the vaccine…The good news also is that we’re seeing vaccination rates increase compared to July and June. In fact, the states that have been hardest hit by the Delta surge are the ones in which the vaccination rates are going up the fastest.” – U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

“The vast majority of people who are hospitalized and losing their life to COVID-19 are those who are not vaccinated. And what worries me very much is that we have 85 million or so Americans who are not vaccinated…So, we have a ways to go.” – Dr. Murthy.

“Our doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other healthcare personnel are running out of gas, running on fumes really….We need to take care of them, they way they’ve been taking care of us…The most immediate step that we can take is to try to get people vaccinated quickly.” – Dr. Murthy.

“There are myths circulating that the vaccines against COVID cause infertility, mutations in your DNA, or cause COVID itself. None of those are based in fact or science at all. Two-thirds of people who are not vaccinated say they believe those myths or say those myths might be true.” – Dr. Murthy.

“If everything worked out well, in an ideal scenario, could we have a vaccination for kids under 12 before the end of the calendar year? It’s possible.” – Dr. Murthy.

“The demand for a [vaccine] verification tool is growing and these private sector initiatives that we know are already under foot, are going to gain more steam in the days ahead.” – Dr. Murthy.

“The notion of having safety requirements in the workplace is not new…Healthcare workers, for example, are used to having to get certain vaccines in order to work, like the flu vaccine. These are steps we take to protect not only our workers, but the people who come into our workplaces, including our customers. I think they’re very reasonable steps to take.” – Dr. Murthy.

“The CDC has recommended that even vaccinated people wear masks when they are in indoor spaces…because you could inadvertently pick up the virus and transmit it to other people.” – Dr. Murthy.

“If you have children who are not vaccinated or immunocompromised people at home—it’s all the more important in those circumstances, to make sure that even if you’re vaccinated—that you’re wearing a mask when you gather with people in indoor settings outside your household.” – Dr. Murthy.

What You Can Do:
Please consider joining the Rally for Recovery Commitment, a U.S. Chamber-led program encouraging every company and organization to take three basic, but important, steps to get the country back to health and American workers back to work.

And if you’re looking to get vaccinated, visit to find a vaccination site near you!

Up Next:
Please join future Path Forward events to learn how to better protect you workers, customers, coworkers, and friends from the spread of coronavirus.

Additional Resources:

About the authors

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus is a senior writer and editor with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's strategic communications team.

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