CDC warns COVID-19 may be a few mutations away from evading current vaccines

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Tuesday that COVID-19 could be “just a few mutations” away from evading current vaccines.

Walensky said that current vaccines are able to effectively deal with severe cases of COVID-19, including those caused by all currently known variants, but allowing it to continue  to spread could result in a mutation which would take the coronavirus beyond the protection offered by immunisation. According to Walensky “The largest concern that I think we in public health and sciences are worried about is that virus and potential mutations … {have} the potential to evade our vaccine in terms of how it protects us from severe disease and death.”

Walensky added, “Right now, fortunately, we are not there. These vaccines operate really well in protecting us from severe disease and death. But the big concern is the next area that might emerge, just a few mutations potentially away, could potentially evade our vaccines.” Currently the most concerning and prominent strain of COVID-19 is the Delta variant, which makes up 83% of new cases nationwide, and according to some studies can leave an infected person with a viral load of around 1,000 times the amount of the viral load seen in previous strains.

In response, the CDC announced changes to its current mask guidelines, recommending that fully vaccinated adults wear masks in indoor public spaces in communities which have high COVID-19 transmission rates. Referring to these new changes, Walensky said, “In areas with substantial and time transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others.”

Health officials are continuing to stress the importance of vaccinations amid rising cases across the nation. Recent efforts to increase vaccine uptake have been ramped up. On Thursday, President Biden called on state and local leaders to offer their respective residents $100 cash payments as an incentive to receive a COVID -19 vaccine. The seven-day rolling average of reported vaccinations has risen by 16% over the past week to reach 615,000 shots per day on Thursday, in comparison to the 3 million daily shots administered in mid – April.



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