How do COVID-19 vaccines reduce variants of the virus?


Welcome to Video 14 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we learn how getting vaccinated helps stop new and potentially dangerous variants from emerging.

Over and above the fact that COVID-19 vaccination helps prevent severe illness and death caused by the Coronavirus, it also helps to reduce the spread of infection from person to person. This is because the vaccine induces an immune response in our bodies, which creates a barrier that protects us from getting infected with the virus.

Unvaccinated people can easily get infected and keep spreading the infection

When there are a significant number of people in a population who are unvaccinated, it means they do not have this protection, and can easily get infected and spread the infection. Remember, variants only emerge when the virus is allowed to copy itself: the process of multiplication can create errors in the copying process - and these 'mistakes' are what creates variants.

We can't predict how dangerous potential variants may be

Some variants of the virus may be harmless. But the ones that we've seen so far are highly transmissible than the first strain of Coronavirus. Variants may also be associated with more severe illness and disease. Since the impact of new variants can be unpredictable and at times, devastating, vaccination remains an important intervention to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Variants will not emerge if the virus does not pass from person to person, so the more vaccinated people in a population, the safer it is for everyone. Watch Dr Noluthando explain more here:

Help stop the spread!

Looking for more information? Use Discovery's COVID-19 Vaccination Navigator to guide you through your vaccination journey. Once you register on the national Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS), you can book a vaccination at a Discovery-managed site near you. Learn more about COVID-19 and vaccines here, and join the millions of South Africans who can proudly say, #IGotMyVaccine.

All medical information found on this website including content, graphics and images, is for education and information objectives only. Discovery publishes content to help to promote a better understand of COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations. The content covered is an overview of key concepts and is not exhaustive in nature. We encourage further reading from other credible sources where necessary.

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