Fighting the new with the old: How effective are current vaccines against new strains of COVID-19?

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Paris Fietsam

Senior Paris Fietsam after getting her first vaccine.

Paris Fietsam, Social Media Manager

Since the distribution of the vaccine started in December of 2020, new strains of COVID  originating from South Africa, Brazil and the United Kingdom have been discovered. The South African strain has already been seen in many individuals in Illinois.

Many are curious if the vaccine will prevent people from getting the new strain. There is evidence that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are approximately 95 percent effective against most of the new strains. However, it is also shown that the vaccines are a bit less effective against the South African variant. 

Senior Morgan Sorenson, who works in the medical field, believes the vaccine will protect her against these cases. “The vaccine was important to get before we even knew of the new strains’ existence, and now that we know about it, that gives us more of a reason to distribute the vaccine on a much larger scale,” she explained. “The new strains will most likely lead to an increase in cases.”

In the Quad Cities, workers in the medical field, teachers and day care workers have had the opportunity to get the vaccine. Along with essential workers, seniors and people in nursing homes have gotten the vaccine. While it was offered to them, some of these individuals decided not to receive the vaccine.

Although many essential workers have gotten the vaccine, that is a very small percentage of the state. Iowa is the 47th state in terms of getting vaccinated and is falling behind many other states.

Since the vaccine has been distributed, millions of people in the country have gotten vaccinated. However, only only 4.56 percent of Iowans are fully vaccinated with both shots. Overall, 746,475 vaccines have been distributed in Iowa.

Senior Courtney Mohr believes that things will change when the new strains come. “The vaccine distribution needs to increase before the strains infect lots of people. Cases will most likely decrease due to immunity and the vaccine,” Mohr stated. 

Evidence now shows that vaccines are about 95 percent effective after the first dose. This is much higher than other vaccines against other illnesses. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the vaccine.