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U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on Sunday that the Supreme Court's decision to temporarily block the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for large workplaces was a "setback for public health."
When ABC "This Week," guest host Martha Raddatz asked Murthy for this thoughts on the Supreme Court's ruling, Murthy called it "very disappointing."
"It was a setback for public health because what these requirements ultimately are helpful for is not just protecting the community at large, but making our workplaces safer for workers as well as for customers," said Murthy.
"So, the good news, though, is that there is nothing that stops workplaces from voluntarily putting these requirements in place. In fact, many have done so already. A third of the Fortune 100 companies have put these in place, and many more outside have," he added, noting that the requirement for health care settings was allowed to stay in place, affecting 17 million workers in the U.S.
During the interview on Sunday, Raddatz also questioned Murthy on why it seemed like the White House had failed to prepare for a possible coronavirus testing shortage. Murthy cited the rapid increase in unexpected demand brought on by the COVID-19 omicron variant, saying the uptick was "extraordinary" and went "beyond the incredible increase in supply that we had procured and secured during 2021."
"Martha, this is about testing, but our response is bigger than that as well. It's also about ensuring that we get more people vaccinated and boosted," said Murthy. "It's one of the lessons that omicron, that the vaccines are working to keep people safe, to keep them out of the hospital, to save their lives. We just need to get millions of more people boosted, work on expanding our testing supply."