COVID-19 Variants and the Vaccine: What You Should Know
Over the past month, new COVID-19 variants have emerged from around the globe: first in the United Kingdom, then South Africa and Brazil. The CDC has warned that the U.K. variant could be the predominant variant in the U.S. sometime this month. As of now, three variants (P.2, B.1.429, and B.1.1.7) are already here in the islands, underscoring the importance of preventative measures.
COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool in getting our communities back to normal. The CDC is continuing to investigate the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the new variants. Scientists also are working to learn about new variants of the virus. More studies are needed to understand how new variants may affect the effectiveness of existing COVID-19 vaccines.
So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway. Some of the new variants of the COVID-19 virus may spread more easily and quickly, which can lead to more cases of COVID-19. So, don’t wait. Plan to get whichever vaccine is available to you.
Even after you are vaccinated, continue to follow all of the protective strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes wearing a mask, physical distancing, washing hands and staying home when you are sick which will also help prevent the spread of new variants. This is the time to stay vigilant!
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit HawaiiCOVID19.com/vaccine.