New Strains of COVID-19: What Does This Mean for Vaccination?

With coronavirus variants from places like the United Kingdom and Brazil now in the United States, more vigilant practices are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, new strains of the virus have appeared, which has led to questions of how to best deal with these more dangerous variants.

A commonly discussed tactic to dealing with the emergence of new coronavirus strains from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa in tandem with the slow rate of vaccinations is to delay the second dose of the vaccine. According to NPR, the variant from Brazil is considered to be the most worrying because its makeup “allows the virus to spread more quickly to help it evade the immune system.” The variant from the U.K. is considered to be more lethal that the original strain.

Dr. Anthony Fauci recommends that people continue getting vaccinated, as viruses cannot mutate if they aren’t replicated. Along with immunization, the continued practices of using face masks, handwashing and social distancing are cited as the best ways to prevent the spread of these new virus strains. According to Michael Worobey, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, there is no evidence that suggests the variants are resistant to the vaccine.

“Once we vaccinate everyone, the virus is going to experience a much stronger selective force to come up with new variants that escape immunity to some degree,” said Worobey. “Where there’s a big rollout of vaccines, over the next several months, we’re going to see that mutation process accelerate.”

Worobey also noted that as the coronavirus mutates, the vaccine may need to be updated sometime in the future, though it is not known when that will need to happen.

About the Author

Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

Product Showcase

  • InteliSwab® COVID-19 Rapid Test

    InteliSwab® COVID-19 Rapid Test

    The InteliSwab® COVID-19 Rapid Test from OraSure is a remarkably simple, and easy to use, at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test. InteliSwab puts the power of rapid results right in your hands. Anytime, anywhere, just swab, swirl and see results in minutes. InteliSwab has been tested against variants of concern and successfully detects Omicron subvariants. By testing frequently in the workplace, you can help prevent disruption and strengthen occupational health. Try InteliSwab today and get your free sample kit here: 3

  • Make selection & use of SRLs simpler with the new V-SHOCK line

    Make selection & use of SRLs simpler with the new V-SHOCK line

    The new MSA V-SHOCK EDGE Cable SRLs and Web PFLs for Leading Edge use are designed for simplicity and hassle-free safety. V-SHOCK EDGE solutions help make PPE selection on the jobsite quick and easy with color-coded housings, clear icons on labels, and clearance charts in the label pack. 3

  • STUDSON SHK-1 Full-Brim

    STUDSON SHK-1 Full-Brim

    STUDSON’s latest SHK-1 Full-Brim is the first and only Full-Brim Type-2 safety helmet on the market today. With a history of pursuing the most cutting-edge solutions in industrial head safety, STUDSON is proud to announce its latest innovation, the all-new Full Brim Type-2 safety helmet. Like every STUDSON safety helmet, its imbedded with the latest cutting-edge technologies. Koroyd provides industry leading impact absorption in protecting the head and neck while twICEme® technology delivers vital information when it matters most. STUDSON’s full-brim Type-2 helmet is simply the most innovative helmet on the market today. Visit us at ASSP booth #413. 3