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Photo by Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images

Former FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn tells Axios that Americans may eventually require annual COVID vaccination boosters, although acknowledges that right now it's just his "best guess."

Why it matters: COVID jabs could become as routine as flu shots.

  • He says a key factor will be the virus' level of virulence as it mutates.
  • "What I find interesting with Omicron is that there are some early and encouraging results of people not getting particularly sick from this variant," Hahn explains. "Viruses often mutate to survive, but become less virulent during that mutation, so that might be what we're seeing ... Instead of getting a booster every six months, it could maybe be once a year."

Post-FDA: Hahn, an oncologist by training, this week was named CEO of Harbinger Health, which is seeking to develop simple blood tests for very early cancer detection.

  • Harbinger is a portfolio company of venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering, which is best known for creating and funding Moderna. Hahn joined Flagship over the summer as head of its preemptive medicine and health security initiative.
  • He says that his patients would always want to know about the origins of their cancers, and that Harbinger seeks to reverse engineer that question.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.

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