Outgoing chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said the U.S. should prepare for a “pretty bad flu season” later this year.
Speaking with Bloomberg Law, Fauci noted that a more severe flu season has already been observed in the Southern Hemisphere, which encounters new annual flu strains sooner than the Northern Hemisphere.
“We should be prepared for that superimposed upon what I hope is the residual and not another spike of Covid,” Fauci told Bloomberg.
Despite reports of a more severe flu season from the Southern Hemisphere, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated in its guidance that the recommendations for flu vaccinations this year are similar to last year’s.
The majority of people who only need one flu shot should plan to get immunized in September or October, according to the CDC.
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized bivalent COVID-19 boosters, which were updated to target a subvariant of omicron.
Fauci said he hoped the updated shot could help impede the concurrent viral spread of both the coronavirus and influenza.
In the event that the pandemic takes a turn for the worse, Fauci said he would still stick to his plans of leaving government work behind.
Fauci became the face of the U.S. COVID-19 response throughout the pandemic, but announced in August he will step down from his positions in December after more than 50 years of government service.
The longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he was “comfortable” with the FDA’s decision to authorize the omicron booster based on animal studies. Flu shots are approved through a similar process.
Fauci added that he hoped the U.S. will continue to improve on the existing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
“One of the mistakes we’ve made is that we concentrate on the problem that’s right in front of you, and put off focusing on what might be a problem in the future,” said Fauci.