What to Know About the New Variants of COVID

With talk of variants of the COVID-19 virus, it can bring a lot of speculation to unknown information. There is still unknown information around COVID for scientists, but there are some facts we do know. If you think you have COVID or have been exposed to someone with COVID, get tested with AFC Urgent Care Worcester today. 

What are variants?

Variants happen as viruses mutate over time. Variants of COVID have been expected since the beginning of the virus, as the more a virus spreads, the higher chance it has to mutate. At least three variants have been found in various parts of the world, first emerging in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. Some of the variants have been found in parts of the United States. 

There is no evidence that the variants are more dangerous than the original strain of COVID. They are, however, more contagious. This means protecting yourself from COVID is more important now than ever. If you are eligible for the vaccine in your area, it is recommended you get it as soon as possible. 

How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine is administered through a shot in a patient’s upper arm. From there, the vaccine allows the patient’s body to create a harmless protein. The body’s immune system will not recognize this protein and start to build antibodies used to fight it off. This will allow the patient’s body to protect itself against future infection.

Do the COVID vaccines protect against the variants?

Experts believe the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will protect against all variants of COVID. There is currently no evidence that proves otherwise. Some of the vaccines available protect against specific variants better than others. In the future, annual COVID vaccines may be recommended, similar to the flu vaccine. The annual flu vaccine protects against all mutations and variants of the flu each year. 

How can I stay safe from the COVID variants?

Since the COVID variants are very similar to COVID itself, you should take the same precautions as COVID. These precautions include:

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when around others
  • Maintaining a six-foot distance from others not in your household
  • Avoid crowds, both indoors and outdoors
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently for twenty seconds
  • Avoid touching your face

If you are showing symptoms of COVID, including a fever, cough, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell, visit AFC Urgent Care Worcester to get tested today.