COVID-19: Will the Vaccines Protect You Against the New Mutant Strains?

Dr. Oz explains whether the vaccine will work against the other strains of the coronavirus.

COVID-19: Will the Vaccines Protect You Against the New Mutant Strains?

There are several new strains of COVID-19 popping up in places like the U.K., South Africa and even here in California. With so many people already getting the available vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, many are wondering, will we still be protected against these mutant strains?

The short answer? Yes, experts say the vaccine will still keep you safe.

Dr. Oz spoke with epidemiologist Dr. Seema Yasmin to help clear up some misconceptions and understand how the vaccine works when it comes to the COVID-19 mutations.

"They're very efficacious," Yasmin told Dr. Oz of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. She added that while they may not give you 100% protection from the new strains, these vaccines will still help keep you safe.

"It's not like saying, 'I don't need to get the vaccine. They don't work against the variant.' That's not what we're saying right now. We're saying there's a cushion effect. The efficacy might be a bit lower, but it still makes sense to get vaccinated," she explained.

And there's more good news. If it turns out the vaccines need to be adjusted more for the new strains, that can happen "quite quickly," Yasmin said.

"The question then would be, ... 'do you still have to go through the very rigorous clinical testing process?' People who work at these companies right now say to us that when it comes to that variant found in the U.K., their vaccines do work well against them. But now, more than ever, we're in a race between vaccination programs and these viral variants. We have to ramp up vaccinations and anyone who's eligible, please go ahead and get that because we need to get transmission under control."

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