New CDC director expects COVID vaccine will be like flu shots where you’ll ‘get your annual COVID shot’

News & Politics

Dr. Mandy Cohen – the new Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – said she expects the COVID vaccine to become an annual inoculation like the flu shot.

Spectrum News asked Cohen if the country is at a point where Americans should get one COVID shot each year.

Cohen responded, “We’re just on the precipice of that, so I don’t want to get ahead of where our scientists are here and doing that evaluation work, but yes, we anticipate that COVID will become similar to flu shots, where it is going to be you get your annual flu shot and you get your annual COVID shot.”

“That’s where we’re going to,” she continued, and added, “We’re not quite there yet.”

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The CDC director said an official guidance from the U.S. health agency regarding an annual COVID shot should arrive in early or mid-September.

Cohen – the previous secretary of health and human services in North Carolina – said she expects a new COVID booster by the fall.

The topic of trust in public health agencies plummeting during the COVID-19 pandemic was broached during the interview. In March, a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health survey found that approximately a quarter of Americans have little-to-no trust in the CDC for health information.

Cohen – a Democrat – told Spectrum News, “While we saw trust go down in lots of institutions, we actually saw trust increase in North Carolina. We measured trust in the Department of Health and Human Services and saw that increase.”

She added, “We still had respectful disagreement, but at least we’re having a respectful conversation about how to approach hard, hard topics.”

When asked if the CDC could have done things differently during the COVID-19 pandemic, she replied, “There were some early places where the CDC didn’t perform and execute in the way they needed to.”

Cohen said she is concerned about distrust regarding vaccines.

“I’m very worried about parents not vaccinating kids,” she said.

On the topic of proposed cuts to the CDC budget, Cohen said, “Just like we have a military to protect us here and around the world, we need a CDC that can protect us. We can’t see those cuts and have the national security assets we need here at the CDC.”

Cohen became the CDC director earlier this month following the departure of her predecessor – Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Earlier this month, Cohen told NBC News the CDC needs to have “an everyday, tactical plan” to “bringing the best evidence that we possibly can” to the public.

She admitted that the CDC had lost trust during the pandemic, but promised transparency at the health agency under her watch.

Cohen added, “You’re going to hear us with some key messages, making sure that folks hear them over and over.”

The outlet said Cohen’s team in North Carolina “sometimes turned to faith leaders, NASCAR drivers, even TikTok influencers to get scientific information to the public.”

NBC News said of Cohen, “But she works hard to focus instead on re-infusing a spark back into the work done at the CDC. On her first day, she played Alicia Keys and other music in the lobby to greet her new co-workers.”

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