When we said Happy New Year on 1st January 2021, we all hoped 2021 would have better things in store for the world, and that things would regain normalcy. This glimmer of hope was fueled by the fact three Covid-19 vaccines had been proven effective, and we’re already in circulation by the end of the year.
But ironically, there’s a probability things might just get worse. According to recent CDC and WHO reports, the Covid-19 virus has been reportedly mutating, and leaving behind even more transmissible variants. Now the hot question is, is the Covid-19 vaccine still effective?
Is the Vaccine Effective?
The Covid-19 vaccines that are currently in circulation are Pfizer, Moderna, and Oxford. These were proven effective against the SARS-CoV-2 strain. This is the original strain of the novel Covid-19 which was first discovered in Wuhan, China, but now that we have new variants, is the vaccine still effective? The short answer is no and yes. Here’s why:
The Virus is Mutating Faster than Expected
According to scientists, the Covid-19 virus is mutating faster than expected.
In their recent statements, Moderna and Pfizer, the two leading Covid-19 vaccine makers admitted that while effective against the original strain, the UK and Brazilian strains, their vaccines might be less effective in fighting variant 501Y.V2, commonly referred to as the South African variant.
According to the vaccine makers, the South African variant is proving tough to fight since it features two different mutations in its spike protein that enable it to dodge antibodies.
Should You Be Worried?
Partly! As noted, although it shares a similar mutation to the UK variant, the South African variant features adaptations that enable it to hide from antibodies. This and the fact that it is more transmissible than the original strain of Covid-19 making it a more dangerous strain as it spreads fast, yet no vaccine has been proven 100% effective.
There are already two cases of Covid-19 caused by this variant identified in South Carolina. Although no more infections have been identified yet, its high transmissibility is a cause for concern as it means there could be more undetected South African variant cases within the country. Also the fact that a majority of Americans are yet to be vaccinated against the original Covid-19 strains and we already have to worry about new variants is a cause for concern.
On the bright side however, President Biden has already banned all flights from South Africa. This will help curb the spread of this variant within the country. Also, the leading vaccine makers, Pfizer and Moderna, are already working on a booster shot that will help increase the efficacy of their vaccines against this strain. According to Pfizer CEO, the company had already discussed on how to protect against probable variants during the initial development of their vaccines. So, developing a booster shot shouldn’t be that hard.
Make Covid-19 Safety Precautions a Priority
As noted, the days of the Covid-19 pandemic are far from over. Given the rate at which the virus is mutating, we don’t know whether there will be worse variants than the South African variants. There’s a possibility that like the Influenza vaccine, the Covid-19 vaccine might have to be adjusted every once in a while so it can remain effective against upcoming variants. But until that is confirmed, make your health and the wellbeing of those around you your responsibility by:
- Wearing your mask
- Proper sanitizing
- Social distancing
- Regular Covid-19 testing
While at it, checkout our tips on how to reopen and stay safe while open for clients and employees.