Governor Ducey appoints former U.S. Surgeon General to be senior public health advisor of Arizona

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To date, Arizona has reported more than a million cases of COVID-19, with more than 19,000 COVID-related deaths on record.  Governor Ducey recently appointed former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona as a Senior Public Health Advisor to assist the State Health Department with the COVID pandemic. We spoke with Dr. Carmona earlier. 

“What I’m doing is working with the Governor to be able to address some of the COVID challenges. So it’s public health emergency preparedness essentially which a lot of that is COVID to me,” Carmona said.

Carmona, the Governor and his senior staff, have discussed what they need to do to “extinguish the transmission of this disease.”

From this discussion they all agree that they need to improve the State’s vaccination rates and that “we must be able to express with certainty the importance of the public health mitigation strategies to help prevent the spread of infection,” Carmona said.

Should there be vaccination mandates?

“I’m staying away from mandates…and one of the reasons I got involved when the Governor asked me, I said, ‘look I think that we’ve been battling this really politically charged word, ‘mandate’ for too long…there’s an opportunity for us and especially the Governor to be able to communicate directly to the people, to inspire them, to urge them to get vaccinated, to mask more appropriately and to incorporate all of the public health mitigation strategies in their particular lives based on the public health advice in their communities’,” Carmona said.

He said that mandates are a challenging and divisive word. Carmona believes that “, vaccines are not only about health, it is about economic health as well…the best way to stop our unemployment, to stop the debt, to be able to have our vigorous economy continue to grow is to get everybody vaccinated, so theres’s an economic imperative to this as well.”

Dr. Richard Carmona, Senior Public Health Advisor to Governor Ducey

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