Can enough Americans get vaccinated before COVID mutations demand different inoculations?

Porto Alegre, Brazil - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) detected three strains of SARS-CoV2 in Latin American countries, which had been reported in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. Photo by Itamar Aguiar / Latin America News Agency.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.K. coronavirus variant could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by the end of March. 

He spoke to the Biden administration’s senior COVID advisor Andy Slavitt today: “Modeling would tell us … that it could become dominant by the end of March. That’s the sobering news. The encouraging news is that the vaccines that we’re currently distributing right now are quite effective against that particular variant. Less so against the South African … but hopefully we will get the virus under much better control by the time there’s any indication that that might become dominant.”

The U.K. variant is doubling every 10 days in the U.S., according to a report out Sunday. 

Other worrisome variants of the virus have also been discovered here in the U.S. — one from South Africa and another from Brazil. 

Over the weekend, officials in South Africa put the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on hold. That was after a small study found that the vaccine wasn’t effective at preventing mild or moderate COVID symptoms. 

Credits

Guest:
Zeynep Tufecki - Professor at University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science - @zeynep

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Angie Perrin, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Bennett Purser