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COVID-19 Vaccines vs Variants—Determining How Much Immunity Is Enough

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

As COVID-19 cases resulting from infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants accumulate in the US and around the world, one question looms large:

How well do the COVID-19 vaccines developed so far protect against these novel coronavirus spinoffs?

“The virus is telling us it’s going to throw out a lot of mutations,” infectious disease specialist Jesse Goodman, MD, MPH, who, as then-chief scientist at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), led the agency’s response to the H1N1 influenza A pandemic, said in an interview. “Even if we don’t have a critical situation right at the moment…there’s a realistic possibility that variants will continue to evolve that have potential to avoid vaccine immunity.”

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As COVID-19 cases resulting from infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants accumulate in the US and around the world, one question looms large:

How well do the COVID-19 vaccines developed so far protect against these novel coronavirus spinoffs?

“The virus is telling us it’s going to throw out a lot of mutations,” infectious disease specialist Jesse Goodman, MD, MPH, who, as then-chief scientist at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), led the agency’s response to the H1N1 influenza A pandemic, said in an interview. “Even if we don’t have a critical situation right at the moment…there’s a realistic possibility that variants will continue to evolve that have potential to avoid vaccine immunity.”

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