Will the current vaccines protect us from new strains of Covid-19?

Updated Aug. 16, 2021

Multiple variants of the Covid-19 virus that seem to spread more easily and quickly have been identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. The UK variant was reported in the U.S. at the end of December 2020, and the South Africa and Brazil variants at the end of January 2021.

Currently, the most prevalent variant in the U.S. is the delta variant, which was first detected in the U.S. in March 2021. The CDC classifies the delta variant as a variant of concern due to its increased transmissibility and severity of disease.

Recent studies show that current vaccines remain highly effective at preventing serious illness and death, even when infected with the delta variant. The current vaccines also significantly reduce the risk of getting infected with the delta variant. However, when someone who is fully vaccinated does get infected with the delta variant, they can spread the virus to others. In this way, infection with the delta variant is different from previous variants.

The CDC is working to monitor the spread of identified variants, characterize emerging viral variants, and expand its ability to find new SARS-CoV-2 variants.