Family Healthcast: Will the vaccine work on the new strain of COVID?

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — As Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and her husband become the latest public officials to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated, we have a question about how well the shots will work against the new variant from the UK.

“Can this new strain of COVID outsmart the vaccines or at least make them less effective?”

That’s the big question right now, and there’s no clear answer, but here’s what we’ve been able to find out.

Large clinical trials have shown that the vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are about 95% effective against the novel coronavirus. Those trials, however, were done before the UK variant started its explosive growth.

Many infectious disease doctors have gone on the record saying they don’t believe the vaccine will be useless against the new UK strain, but that it might lower its effectiveness. It could lower it from 95% to something like 80% to 85%.

The CEO of BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer on one vaccine, said he doesn’t think the new variant will cause a problem. But, if it does:

“We should not forget that we still have the opportunity, if required, to adjust the vaccine exactly to this new virus variant, if this is needed.”

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