Health Spotlight: Dr. Jerome Adams on Fauci, new COVID vaccine, E. coli – WISH TV Indianapolis, IN

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – WISH-TV’s medical expert and former Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams sat down with WISH-TV’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Gillis. Adams weighed in on Dr. Fauci’s retirement, the new COVID-19 bivalent vaccine and the e coli outbreak in Indiana. Check out the conversation below. 
Gillis: Dr. Fauci announced he’s stepping away from a 40 year career in public health service. Were you surprised by this decision? 
Adams: I wasn’t surprised because he announced earlier this year that he would be leaving by the end of the administration. I think the timeline got moved up quite frankly because of the midterm elections. You’re seeing increasing vitriol directed not just at Dr Fauci, but other medical professionals. Dr. Fauci is at a point now in his career where he doesn’t want that vitriol directed at him and his family. I’ve talked to him on the phone and it’s been very concerning to hear about the threats that not just he’s gotten but his family’s gotten. 
Gillis: Some people have harsh words for Dr Fauci criticizing how we handled the pandemic saying it was one of the biggest public health failures in our nation’s history. How do you think he handled the situation? 
Adams: Dr. Fauci wasn’t just COVID. He’s been around for 50 years. I would just tell people not to judge him based on the pandemic. Nobody got it right. I know him personally. I know his heart is in the right place. He’s made mistakes. But we’re all human. We’ve all made mistakes. He’s 81. So, I hope he can have a good retirement, spend time with his family and quite frankly not get some of the threats again that have been directed his way. 
Gillis: Moderna and Pfizer both asked the FDA to green light a new COVID vaccine targeting omicron. Tell me about the vaccine. Who will be eligible and when can we expect it to be available? 
Adams: That’s a great question. The vaccine that we’re currently using was designed for a COVID strain that is now years old. It’s actually pretty incredible that we’re still getting the level of protection we’re getting from it. But now they’re asking the FDA to greenlight a bivalent vaccine, which is a combination of vaccines designed to work against the original variant and against BA.4 and BA.5 which make up 90% of the infections that are out there right now.
Gillis: This news comes as the World Health Organization announced the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide has fallen by 15% in the last week while infections dropped 9%. There’s some health experts saying enough of the shots. Do they have a point?
Adams: I know people are frustrated, but we’re going to fall into a routine like we have with the flu. We’re going to have to get a yearly update. We’re going to see surges and we’re going to see things improve. So,I tell people to get their booster if they are eligible and if their doctor recommends it. It’s going to put you in a better position to get through this fall and winter safely. 
Gillis: Indiana has been hit with an e coli outbreak tied to contaminated lettuce from Wendy’s. What’s going on and how can people protect themselves? 
Adams: Well, there’s a small number of cases and they haven’t traced it back to a definitive food source. But all the people report having eaten romaine lettuce on sandwiches at Wendy’s. The CDC says it’s important to know that this is just on the sandwiches. It’s not on the salads at Wendy’s. They don’t recommend people avoid eating at Wendy’s and Wendy’s has recalled that lettuce so it’s safe to go out there and eat. But be aware anytime you have a fever, anytime you have diarrhea. Make sure you talk to your doctor so that he or she can discern if there are other outbreaks going on right now. The state Department of Health is paying attention to this. There is no need to worry.
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