A more contagious coronavirus variant is spreading in Minnesota. Will your vaccine shot work against it?
Viruses change all the time. The coronavirus is no different. And since last year, health experts have been tracking new COVID strains as they appear in the United States.
The United Kingdom strain, called the B-one-one-seven variant, was first spotted in Minnesota in early January. This variant is more contagious than the original COVID strain. And it also appears to be more deadly.
The B-one-one-seven variant is behind an outbreak in Carver County. Public health officials have linked 140 cases to the variant, which seems to have spread mostly through youth sports.
Variant outbreaks have turned up in three other Minnesota counties: Blue Earth, Scott and St. Louis.
The good news is that, so far, the vaccine does seem to work against the variant. This holds true for the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine as well as the two-shot Pfizer and Modern vaccines.
This is why health experts say it’s more important than ever to get a vaccine shot. Minnesota is in a race to get vaccinations out ahead of the variant spread.
More than 1.4 million Minnesotans have already received at least one vaccine dose. That includes the 17.7 percent of Minnesota’s American Indian population who have received at least one shot.