San Diego County has vaccinated more than half its residents with at least one dose of a vaccine. As the vaccinated adjust to returning to normal, and the unvaccinated try to obtain their shots, three trends are slowly coming together. We’re seeing the rise and spread of newer, more infectious Covid-19 variants and a slow-down in daily vaccination rates. Should vaccinated San Diego seniors be concerned about how the vaccine they’ve received will protect them against variants? Should San Diego seniors who haven’t yet received a first or second dose wait for the next vaccine? We share three takeaways from this week’s news that will reassure and reinforce faith in vaccination for seniors and caregivers in San Diego.

These three news reports should assure anyone in home care in San Diego and their caregivers that pursuing vaccination remains a top priority:

  1. The spread of new Covid-19 variants is frightening, especially for the unvaccinated around the world. But per the New York Times, “[F]or the vaccinated, the outlook is much more hopeful. While it’s true that the vaccines have different success rates against different variants, the perception that they don’t work against variants at all is incorrect. In fact, the available vaccines have worked remarkably well so far, not just at preventing infection but, most important, at preventing serious illness and hospitalization, even as new variants circulate around the globe. The variants are ‘all the more reason to get (fully) vaccinated,’ said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist.”
  2. According to the Washington Post, a new study conducted in Qatar and published in the New England Journal of Medicine has proved that “the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine provides strong protection against two concerning variants of the virus, including the one that has most worried scientists because it can evade parts of the immune response. … The study…found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was about 90 percent effective at blocking infections caused by the B.1.1.7 variant, a more transmissible version of the virus now fueling outbreaks around the world. That encouraging finding was not a surprise, but the study also found that efficacy eroded only slightly, to 75 percent, against the B.1.351 variant that was first detected in South Africa.”
  3. CNN reported that “manufacturers are already making and testing formulations against the most worrying of the variants. The design of the new mRNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer make this easier than it would have been in the past. The genetic material used as the basis of the vaccines is made in a lab and the sequence is easily tweaked. Vaccine maker Moderna reported Wednesday that a booster shot delivering a half-dose of its current vaccine revs up the immune response against both B.1.351 and P.1. And a booster dose formulated specifically to match B.1.351 was even more effective.”

This information confirms that getting vaccinated should be a priority for anyone who’s eligible, and that getting the second dose of a two-dose shot is even more important. The current vaccines are working effectively against the most prevalent variants now spreading, but the strongest protection only comes after the second shot. And if a third ‘booster’ shot is in our future, the technology used to make this vaccine is well able to adapt and adjust to the natural mutations of viruses.

If you need assistance making a vaccination appointment for yourself or your loved one, please consult the resources we list on our blog “How Do Seniors Make Vaccination Appointments in San Diego?