Now that rollouts are happening in countries around the world, the next question is whether COVID-19 vaccines are still effective against new coronavirus strains. We’re no longer facing just one disease, but many versions of the original. Therefore, it’s natural to want to know if the immunity protection billions of people are counting on will provide that protection against every version.
Are the Vaccines Still Effective Against New Coronavirus Strains Popping Up Worldwide?
According to a Forbes report citing White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci at the start of February 2021, yes, vaccines are still effective against new coronavirus strains. That said, depending on the stain, it may affect the extent of the effectiveness. Overall, at the time this article was written, it was believed that the vaccines that have received approval in the United States will still prevent serious illness and will prevent the spread of the virus in all its variations.
Fauci did acknowledge that some vaccines aren’t as effective against the new variants, particularly the fast-spreading version first identified in South Africa, but strong protection still occurs with other variants such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom.
If They’re Less Effective Against Some Strains, Will the Coronavirus Vaccines Still Work?
According to Fauci, even if the vaccines aren’t as effective against the variant identified in South Africa, the inoculations are still helpful because they can make infections less severe. While they protect against illness and spread with the original version of the virus and some of its other variants, they “profoundly” decrease the rates of serious disease, hospitalization and death.
Moreover, Fauci also added that there is an additional benefit when considering if the vaccines are still effective against new coronavirus strains. He pointed out that the more widespread vaccination occurs, the smaller the opportunity for the virus to replicate. When it replicates less, there is a reduced opportunity for mutation. This means that the faster the world is vaccinated, the lower the chance of new variants emerging.
Why It’s Still Important to be Vaccinated?
“Even when you have a variant circulating in which you may not have a 95% efficacy to prevent infection, it is very important that you might very very positively prevent serious illness and serious disease,” explained Fauci as quoted in the Forbes report. “You need to get vaccinated when it becomes available, as quickly and as expeditiously as possible throughout the country.”