Just as vaccines began to offer hope and a path of the pandemic, news out of United Kingdom is that the virus is mutating and could be spreading to Europe.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease doctor at Vanderbilt University, tells CBS 12 this variation of the virus could be even more contagious than the one we’ve come to know here in the United States, however, it is not more likely to make you sick.
Schaffner also says it appears this mutation will not be resistant to the vaccine.
“So far, the word we get from Europe, is they do not think it will interfere with the vaccine,” Schaffner explains. “We think the vaccine is going to be just as effective but it is important to note, if we needed a reminder that it’s important to keep masking and social distancing, this variant, this virus is a reminder. This COVID virus is spreading throughout the United States and this mutant may be here already. We don’t know that.”
Schaffner says the mutation of a virus is nothing out of the ordinary as it spreads from person-to-person. Usually, it is harmless but every once in a while, something like this may pop up.
In the meantime, Schaffner says the spread of this new variant can be slowed with the same safety measures and precautions that have been put in place for months now.
“We are all keeping our eye on it, but this is the sort of virus -– just like the one that we’re used to -– that can be inhibited by the use of social distancing, mask wearing and not going out in groups,” says Schaffner. “We can interrupt the spread of this virus also while we wait to be vaccinated, but we all have to do this.”