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What you need to know about the U.K. Covid-19 variant

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 6:12 PM EST
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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - “Pandemic” and “PPE” have become common words in the American vernacular. Add “variant” to the list, after a mutation of the coronavirus has emerged in the United Kingdom. And the U.K. variant is now confirmed in eastern Michigan. State health officials report the woman had recently traveled to the United Kingdom.

Is the U.K. variant more deadly?

“With these newer variants, they have not been shown to be more deadly, or result in more serious disease, but they are more contagious. The more contagious virus, the easier it spreads, the more people who end up being sick and could need hospital level care,” said Gillian Conrad, Communications Manager at the Berrien County Health Department.

Will the Covid-19 vaccine protect me from the U.K. variant?

“As it stands right now, we have no indication to believe that the vaccine would not work with these newer identified variants. The developers of the vaccine went into the development eyes wide open, knowing that there would be variants in COVID-19 in the virus, and were able to develop the vaccine accordingly,” Conrad said.

Should the vaccine not fare well against the variants: “That’s something that the vaccine manufacturers would have to retool a little bit in order for it to reach maximum protection.”

Conrad said it is still encouraged for everyone to receive a Covid-19 vaccine when possible.

Because the U.K. mutation has shown to be more contagious, she advises everyone to continue to practice social distancing, wear face masks, avoid large gatherings, and wash hands thoroughly.

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