Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Fauci says Americans will need annual Covid vaccines akin to flu shots

The doctor plans to step down later this year

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 06 September 2022 17:55 BST
Fauci comes out fighting on Fox News amid GOP threats to jail him

Health authorities believe that future protection against Covid-19 will rely on annual vaccine boosters, not unlike yearly flu vaccinations. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that as Covid-19 continues to develop it will likely require Americans to take yearly vaccine shots in the same way the flu does.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that looking forward in the Covid-19 pandemic, in the absence of a dramatically different variant, we likely are moving towards a path with a vaccination cadence similar to that of the annual influenza vaccine," he said.

Dr Fauci said that each year the shot will be matched to whichever strain of Covid-19 is most dominant within the population.

The doctor became a household name during the Covid-19 pandemic, but was ultimately a contentious figure in the public eye. Like everything else, Dr Fauci became an element of the culture war. Some liberals praised him for elevating science and data and for the embarassment he showed everytime former President Donald Trump spoke during the pandemic. Likewise, some conservatives hated him for any number of reasons, most of which hinged on conspiracy theories about the virus and the vaccines.

Dr Fauci is 81 years old and recently announced he would be stepping down from his position at the NIAID. He told NPR that he originally intended to step down at the end of the Trump administration, but was asked to stay on by Joe Biden. Dr Fauci said he ultimately accepted to stay on for an additional year because he believed it would be enough time to put the pandemic in the nation’s rearview.

“And as it turns out, it’s clear that we will get COVID under control and make it much, much less impactful on our social order. But it’s not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated,” he told the broadcaster. “And the pandemic will likely essentially become more of an endemic situation, something that we can live with and doesn’t disrupt us.”

He said that in order to protect Americans the vaccination rates in the US would have to improve. According to the doctor, 67 per cent of US adults have been vaccinated, and only half that number have taken boosters.

“The fall is coming up. We have a bivalent BA.5 vaccine boost that will be available by early to mid-September. If we can get the people who’ve not been boosted to get boosted - and certainly those who’ve not been vaccinated to get vaccinated - we could be where you and I are talking about now, where we want to be,” he said. “As we get into the end of this year and next year, that the virus will be at a low enough level as to not be a great perturbing of our social order, which I believe it can be and I hope it will be.”

Dr Fauci plans to step down in December.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in