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Reinfection possible with COVID-19 virus variant

Virus Outbreak Novavax Vaccine
Posted at 4:40 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 18:40:46-05

There's a growing concern about variants of the coronavirus. Health experts warn even if you have already been infected with COVID-19, you may not be fully protected from the latest mutations of the virus.

Coronavirus cases continue to plateau across the county, but it is still circulating and the mutations, while not dominant, are concerning. The mutation first identified in South Africa is the most concerning.

"If it becomes dominant, the experience of our colleagues in South Africa indicates that even if you've been infected with the original virus that there is a very high rate of reinfection to the point where a previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director.

Health experts say it is important as ever to get as many people vaccinated for the coronavirus as quickly as possible.

"Even though there is a diminished protection against the variants, there's enough protection to prevent you from getting serious disease, including hospitalization and death," said Dr. Fauci. " So, vaccination is critical. When it's available, get vaccinated."

But the vaccines aren't the only keys to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

"We don't know they protect against transmission to another person," said Dr. Julie Morita, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation executive vice president. "And so wearing masks, keeping social distancing and washing hands are still critically important while people are getting vaccinated as well."