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Mayo Clinic: Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against variants

Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 4:16 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2021 at 7:02 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - As the push for more people to get vaccinated continues, Mayo Clinic explains the effectiveness of vaccines against COVID-19 variants.

The delta variant is the most common mutated strain the in the United States. According to Mayo, it’s nearly twice as contagious and causes more severe COVID-19 cases.

Last month, the World Health Organization started monitoring another strain, called the mu variant. Unlike delta, mu is not a dominant strain anywhere in the world.

Mayo Clinic Infectious Disease Specialist John O’Horo, M.D. said, “The delta variant is really the predominant strain everywhere at this point, and while it is important that scientists and public health officials keep an eye on this, we’re still in a space right now where the mu variant is something to keep an eye on for the future rather than a concern.”

Mayo research suggests vaccines prevent 96% of delta cases from becoming severe.

All eligible recipients are encouraged to get vaccinated, even if they’ve already had COVID-19. Getting the virus may result in natural immunity against reinfection, but Mayo said it’s unclear how long the protection lasts.

O’Horo added, ”Vaccination against the delta variant still remains highly effective. Even though there are reports of breakthrough cases, they tend to be far less severe and far less frequent, and we can see nationwide that areas with high rates of vaccination are not hit as hard by the delta variant, and that helps make sure that hospitals and clinics are not overwhelmed.”

Delta poses more risks to unvaccinated people, including children 12 and younger. Mayo said masking and social distancing are still important practices to stop the spread and prevent severe illness.

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