Metro doctors worry COVID-19 vaccines won’t be effective against new variants of virus

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — With the progress Georgia is making with the COVID-19 vaccine, there are new concerns about the variants spreading across the state.

Doctors don’t know if the vaccines offer full protection from the variants.

Pharmacist Justin Marlow told Channel 2′s Sophia Choi that he was getting his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

“It’s an awesome, awesome vaccine,” Marlow said.

He believes the vaccine works pretty well against the variant spreading in Georgia.

But DeKalb County Health Director Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford isn’t so sure the vaccine will fully protect you against all new strains.

“We don’t know that the vaccine covers every single variant,” Ford told Choi. “I think that people think, ‘Now that I have this vaccine, my life goes back to pre-pandemic.’ That’s not true.”

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Right now, the state believes the only variant spreading across Georgia is the UK version.

Cases rose from 19 statewide at the beginning of the month to 45 less than two weeks later.

“When you consider the fact that they’re only testing about 1%, that’s a pretty significant jump,” Ford said.

Ford said the vaccine will take weeks for full protection to kick in. It should prevent you from catching the original strain, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes you may still catch it but the symptoms will be far milder.

“It’s the difference between you just feeling bad, achy, you know, cold symptoms, versus having to be hospitalized,” Ford said.

That’s why Ford said people should still mask up, even if you’re vaccinated, because you could still spread the virus.

Choi learned Monday that the BrandsMart vaccine site in Doraville is moving to the Doraville MARTA station to give people without cars more access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

They’re going to set up a couple of huge, heated tents to keep health care workers warm. That means no more driving up — it’ll be walk-up only.