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Doctors urge herd immunity to ward off ‘double mutant’ COVID-19 strain

A new mutation of COVID-19 originating in India, more infectious than previous strains, is now making its way across the country. But what makes this viral mutation so concerning, and why are so many reaching Florida?

Despite the high number of people getting vaccinated, thousands are still flocking to Florida, and some doctors say that’s why mutations like this “double mutant” variant are inevitable.

“The big concern is that we’re worried about a fourth wave of the virus, because many people still have not been vaccinated yet,” said Dr. Rebekah Bernard with Gulf Coast Primary Care. “That means that those people, potentially, are at an increased risk for developing an infection, because this variant does seem to be more infectious than the previous versions of it.”

This double variant is said to be more infectious and transmissible, but the vaccines, fortunately, still seem to be effective against these new strains. Bernard says they are a big reason why herd immunity needs to be reached as quickly as possible.

“That’s where we would have to start over again to a new vaccine and basically be playing catch-up,” Bernard said. “It’s really important that we achieve heard immunity as soon as possible, so we don’t allow the virus to continue to learn and mutate.”

The latest research shows Pfizer’s vaccine is effective for up to six months. It remains unclear if a booster will be needed after that timeframe.

Reporter:Nicole Lauren
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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