UGA immunologists say the vaccine protects against the delta variant, but may not against others

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the current vaccines are effective even against the delta variant. These vaccines have also been effective in keeping people from getting sick enough to go to the hospital.

“I’m vaccinated. I’m fully vaccinated, and I would just encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” said Raevyn Williamson.

Williamson is relieved to be vaccinated. Ted Ross, Director for the Center for Vaccines and Immunology at the University of Georgia, says that even with the delta variant, the vaccines protect most people.

“On the good side, we now know the vaccinations are protecting us from severe disease, protecting us from hospitalizations. Very, very few people in the hospital are people that have been vaccinated, and those tend to have underlying health conditions,” said Ross.

Ross even spoke on new variants of the coronavirus. The C.1.2. variant that first appeared in South Africa in the spring is closely watched as it has a very high mutation rate. Surveillance is happening on that and other variants to see if current vaccines protect against those variants.

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“If it doesn’t, then we are going to have to rapidly develop another vaccine for that particular variant and get out to the population. So it is an ever ongoing process,” said Ross.

Ross says vaccine developers can use their current technology to create new vaccines if needed fairly quickly.