Relief coursed through me last week when I learned my 2-year-old daughter’s daycare provider got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. It left her feeling more groggy than she expected, but that was a good thing, suggesting the vaccine was kicking her immune system into gear.
While I was grateful her vaccination reduced the risk of exposure in my social pod, I was reading about new genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. At a recent press conference, Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Biden, said the current Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, when confronting the new mutations, were still “well above the line of not being effective.” That’s reassuring, of course, until you consider that vaccines, battling mutations, can fall below the line of effectiveness. That’s not the fault of vaccine design, it’s the result of nature’s design. As long as the virus continues to find new human hosts, it will continue to evolve mutations to escape our immune defenses.
“The more people infected, the more likely that we will see new variants,” Michel Nussenzweig, a Rockefeller University immunologist, told The New York Times. “If we give the virus a chance to do its worst, it will.”
Thankfully, scientists are on the case figuring out what form the virus’ worst may take next.