COVID-19 vaccine adds a layer of protection against 'double mutant' India variant

Posted at 3:19 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 21:40:55-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The COVID-19 vaccine provides an extra layer of protection against variants for people who've recovered from the virus.

Some people who have already recovered from COVID-19, are reporting more robust side effects after receiving the vaccine. However, Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt University Medical Center said he doesn’t want that to deter them from getting it.

"The reactions you get from the vaccine give you a transient discomfort. That’s a whole lot easier than having to wear a ventilator. We don’t want you to be sick, and so get that added protection that the vaccine affords you, it’s worth it for a day or two of minor discomfort," Schaffner said.

Dr. Schaffner is an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt. He said the so-called 'double mutant' India variant has been confirmed in California, but it's not in Tennessee yet. The vaccine should provide an extra cushion of protection from it.

Schaffner said, "At the moment, the most common variant we have is this one from the United Kingdom, the B117 variant, and that seems to not be making people more ill if they’re exposed. In fact, I think people who’ve had COVID are rather protected in the instance, and particularly so, if you’ve been vaccinated."

While people who've recovered from the disease have antibodies, it's unclear if they will be enough to fight off the virus when it continues to mutate. That's why Dr. Schaffner said they shouldn't have a false sense of security.

"That’s the reason we have to keep wearing our masks, social distancing until enough of us are vaccinated, so we can take our masks off," Schaffner said, "We’re not there yet."

According to Dr. Schaffner, the 'double mutant' India variant doesn't appear to be more serious, but it's considered more contagious.