‘The vaccine still works’: Health experts say current vaccines are effective against new U.K. strain of virus
The first reported U.S. case of the COVID-19 variant that's been seen in the United Kingdom has been discovered in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday, adding urgency to efforts to vaccinate Americans.
The man in his 20s, who lives outside Denver, is in isolation and health officials say he has no prior travel history.
U.K. scientists believe this strand could be 70% more contagious than previous versions of COVID-19 but not more deadly at this time.
Many health experts say that the vaccines out right now will still be effective against this newest mutation. “The disease severity is the same, so once you get infected, you go through the same process as you would versus another variant or the original variant. The vaccine still works," says Dr. Harish Moorjani, Infectious Disease Specialist, Phelps Hospital.
Jerica Pitts, a spokesperson for Pfizer, agrees. "To date, we have found consistent coverage of all strains tested."
An official at Moderna says "Based on the data, we expect the vaccine-induced immunity from the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine would be protective against the variants of the virus in the UK."
"We may even learn that this variant has potentially been one of the causes of the surge in the United States, I wouldn't be surprised if we learned that in coming days," says Dr. Jonathan Reiner, of George Washington University.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are doing tests right now to confirm initial data that their vaccines will protect against the variant.
Colorado health officials are reporting a second suspected case of the variant which means it could already be spreading out west.
There are no confirmed cases of it in New York at this time.