As more people are getting vaccinated for COVID 19, more variant strains are showing up locally.
Between Oregon and Washington we already have about 1.2 million fully vaccinated residents.
Researchers warn that at the same time, they’re seeing more mutant strains of the virus.
At O.H.S.U. Dr. Brian O’Roak leads a team researching how the virus is changing. They’re sampling only about one percent of local COVID-19 cases. However they have found the more contagious and deadly variant B117, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom. And they’ve also found America’s first case of E484E in Oregon. He explains why some call it “eek,” telling KGW, “It might allow the virus to have some resistance, to antibodies, and you know, depending on how much resistance, that may make vaccines less effective.”
Dr. O’Roak says even against the variants, research suggests vaccines are still effective in preventing severe cases of the disease and deaths.
Even if you’ve had all the scheduled doses and waited a couple weeks for your immunity to take hold, some recommendations are not changing. As Oregon state health officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger recommends: “Washing your hands for twenty seconds is one of the best ways to prevent this disease and other diseases, and we want people to stay home if you’re sick.”
The Oregon Health Authority says overall, COVID-19 case numbers are dropping as vaccination rates are growing. But vaccinated or not, they’re still recommending that in most cases, people wear face coverings, limit group sizes, and physically distance in public.