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Fauci: New Covid strains increase need for fast vaccination scheme

Posted On: Mar 1, 2021   |   Posted By: Politico

Fauci: New Covid strains increase need for fast vaccination scheme

New variants of the coronavirus may make vaccines less effective against the disease, making it even more urgent to quickly inoculate the country and beat back the pandemic, Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
Speaking at a White House news briefing, the government's top infectious disease expert warned that strains first identified in South Africa and Brazil could reduce the potency of the two vaccines now in use. Fauci cited studies published online this week that have not yet been peer-reviewed, and said it would be important to monitor the mutations going forward.
Fauci emphasized, however, that existing vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna showed initial efficacy of roughly 95 percent - far greater than is needed to beat the pandemic. Even if the new variants reduce the vaccines' potency they will still likely offer strong protection against infection, he said.
Another variant first spotted in the U.K. appears to make the virus more transmissible, the scientist said, which could overload U.S. hospitals if it...

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