The government must quit treating Americans like children when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, but instead "treat them like the intelligent and caring citizens of the country that they are" while giving them the facts about getting their shots, former Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Newsmax.
"We've got to give them the facts," Adams said Friday on Newsmax's "National Report." "We've got to give them the data, and here's what I want people to know. Again, 95 to 99% effective at preventing severe hospitalization and death. That's important if you're at risk, if you're not at risk, or don't consider yourself to be at high risk.
"I've always said that we need to be very aware of both the messages and the messengers, and I think the new administration really needs to think about who its messengers are and what its messages are to the American people," Adams said. "I understand why a lot of your viewers are very concerned about the idea of the federal government coming and knocking on their doors."
At the same time, authority for public health lies at the state and local levels, Adams said.
"What we want to do is get vaccines as accessible as possible in communities," he said.
"We want people to get their questions answered. I will shame no one — no one — and we absolutely should not shame anyone for having questions about the vaccines, but what I want people to do is make decisions based on the best possible information. ... We shouldn't be talking about the federal government going door to door."
Adams added that there are also social benefits for people getting their shots.
"Your kids can go back to school," he said. "They're going to be less likely to have to wear a mask. You'll be able to go back to work. Restaurants will open and stay open."
The United Kingdom is "going backward ... right now because of this Delta variant. That's why it's critical we get people vaccinated."
He also stressed that Republican leaders people respect — former President Donald Trump, ex-Vice President Mike Pence and every Republican governor in the country — have gotten their shots, and that's because they know "this is how we safely reopen and get our freedom back."
"If we talk to people in those terms, treat them with respect, and there hasn't been enough respect out there [because] there's been too much politicization ... I think they'll listen to us," Adams said. "People need to know that you care before they care [about] what you know."
Meanwhile, even with Pfizer seeking approval for giving a booster shot to further protect against variants, Adams said he wants to stress that the vaccines are still the best tool to prevent serious disease and death.
"It's important to understand that we may need a booster in the future, and that's OK. ... Right now your best bet is to get vaccinated," Adams said.
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