There is a great deal of confusion and anxiety surrounding the topic of COVID-19 vaccines. Many people are reluctant to be vaccinated, despite the fact that vaccines may be the best hope to combat the pandemic. However, vaccine hesitancy is largely motivated by misinformation. To maximize uptake, it is important to understand how vaccines protect against COVID-19 as it evolves.
With new Coronavirus variants appearing, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest information. In this blog post, we will discuss different COVID-19 variants as well as COVID-19 vaccines that protect against new variants.
How many COVID-19 variants are there?
So far, researchers have identified over 100 different Coronavirus variants that are related to COVID-19. These variants are collectively called SARS-CoV-2 or 2019 novel Coronavirus. Each variant has a slightly different genetic makeup and is able to infect people in slightly different ways.
The following are some of the mutations that have contributed to the pandemic:
- Alpha – Alpha (B.1.1.7) was the first variant that received a lot of attention. The first cases of Alpha in Great Britain were reported in November 2020, and infections spiked in December. It soon spread around the world and became dominant in the U.S., where it was classified as a variant of concern by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Beta – The Beta variant, or B.1.351, was identified in South Africa at the end of 2020 and spread to other countries. Due to its several mutations and potential to evade antibodies, experts had been concerned about its spread.
- Delta – In late 2020, Delta (B.1.617.2) was detected in India. It soon spread throughout the world, becoming the dominant Coronavirus. It caused more than twice as many infections as previous variants and was 80 to 90% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
- Omicron – Omicron’s subvariants are considered to be especially efficient spreaders of the disease, and the BA.5 and BA.4 variants appear to be better than other subvariants at evading protection provided by vaccines and previous infection. Doctors say the vaccines still provide important protection against severe disease and death.
Is there a new COVID-19 variant?
Some health officials are concerned about a new wave of COVID-19 Omicron subvariants, which may lead to an increase in cases this winter. Although BA.5 accounts for most cases in the United States, other Omicron variants are on the rise. The new variants are called “Scrabble” variants, since the letters used to define them, like B, X and Q, would score many points in a game of Scrabble.
These new Omicron variants include:
BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, in particular, seem poised to circulate frequently in the coming months as groups of people begin to gather for Halloween costume parties, Thanksgiving get-togethers and more. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that these variants are “troublesome” and have “qualities or characteristics that could evade some of the interventions we have.”
What if the New COVID-19 Variants are Unresponsive to the Vaccines?
Despite the concerns about new Coronavirus variants, health officials remain focused on developing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the vaccines currently in development are “highly effective” at protecting against severe disease and death from COVID-19.
Researchers have seen early signs that existing vaccines may also be able to offer some level of protection from mutated forms of viruses. This suggests that current vaccines may work with the body’s multifaceted immune system, enabling it to recognize and respond to even highly altered forms of a pathogen. While more research is needed to fully understand this phenomenon, it holds great promise for future efforts to prevent and treat new variants.
What are the symptoms of the Delta variant of COVID-19?
The symptoms of Delta COVID-19 can range from mild to severe. The symptoms are similar to those seen with the original coronavirus strain and other variants, including a persistent cough, headache, fever, and sore throat. In some cases, particularly in vulnerable populations like the elderly or people with preexisting medical conditions, the virus can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure.
What are the symptoms of the new COVID-19 variant?
As the “Scrabble” subvariants are so new, it’s hard to say how they differ from previous strains in terms of symptoms. However, it’s important to note that the symptoms of the new COVID-19 variant, such as BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, often mimic those of other Coronavirus variants, including a high fever, coughing, fatigue, and body aches.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes. The two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the CDC, are very safe and very good at preventing serious or fatal cases of COVID-19. There is very little risk of serious side effects associated with these vaccines.
Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The World Health Organization determined most people safe to get vaccinated against COVID-19. However, you should not be vaccinated if:
- You have a history of severe allergic reactions/anaphylaxis to any of the ingredients of the COVID-19 vaccine, in order to avoid possible adverse effects.
- You have a fever over 38.5ºC on the day of your vaccine appointment. Postpone until you have recovered.
- You currently have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Wait until you have completed the mandated isolation period and your acute symptoms have passed to get vaccinated.
How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?
No charge is associated with your COVID-19 vaccination. Your COVID-19 vaccine is free. People living in the United States, regardless of health insurance or immigration status, are eligible to receive free COVID-19 vaccines paid for by taxpayer dollars.
What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccine?
While the COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective, some people may experience mild side effects after getting vaccinated. These include soreness or redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, and joint pain. These side effects are usually temporary and should resolve within a few days. If you experience any serious side effects or symptoms that persist or worsen after getting vaccinated, consult your healthcare provider right away.
Get your COVID-19 shot at Nao Medical today!
One of the best ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Nao Medical offers the latest Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and boosters for adults and children. The vaccine is free for patients with insurance or paying out of pocket. Together we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our communities. Visit a Nao Medical location near you today to get vaccinated.