It is not clear whether a more transmissible variant of the coronavirus that has resulted in tighter restrictions in the UK has made its way to the US, according to Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser of the Vaccine Acceleration Program of the government.
“We don’t know,” Slaoui said on CNN’s “State of the Union”. on Sunday. “We are looking into this.”
Deputy Health Secretary Brett Giroir questioned the threat posed by the virus changes cited by the UK government, saying the coronavirus blamed for Covid-19 has mutated more than 4,000 times since its discovery. There is no imminent need to suspend flights from the UK, he told ABC “This Week”.
“We do not know that it is more dangerous, and above all we have not yet seen a single mutation that would allow him to escape the vaccine”, and even if this cannot be ruled out for the future, “I do not don’t think there should be a reason to be alarmed right now, ”Giroir said.
The new variant can be as much as70% more transmissible, which led British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce a lockdown on London and large parts of south-east England on Saturday. He rolled back plans to ease pandemic restrictions for five days over the holidays and banned mixing of households in London and the South East while limiting Christmas Day socializing in the rest of England .
Even as the variant becomes more prevalent, Slaoui said vaccines that are currently being rolled out will provide protection against it. This includes the Moderna Inc. vaccine which receivedapprovalfrom US regulators on Friday, and Slaoui said the first injections should be given on Monday.
Giroir, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, urged President Donald Trump to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to promote acceptance of the vaccination among his supporters.
“Again, we have every reason to believe that these two vaccines are very effective and safe,” he said. “So I would encourage the president to get vaccinated for his own health and safety, and also to generate more confidence among the people who follow him so closely.
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