A new SARS-CoV-2 strain has been found to be spreading at a faster pace than the ancestral strain in California. The new 452R strain was actually found in late 2020 in several California counties; however, the latest genomic surveillance data indicates that nearly one out of every four positives recently have been the newer strain. This indicates that the newer strain is more transmissible.
As with some of the other newer strains, scientists are cautioning that the vaccine may need to be updated. This is due to potentially lowered effectiveness of the vaccine against the newer strains. It is possible that once the current vaccine is administered, a booster shot of an updated vaccine may be necessary to increase protection.
The vaccine rollout is slowly occurring all over the country. Before you are able to get your shots, please continue to remain vigilant in protecting your own health as well as the health of those around you. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, please continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after coming into contact with a potentially contaminated surface.
It should also be noted that a variety of misinformation has been pushed on social media of how the COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous and can cause severe health issues. For example, some of the misinformation is claiming that the vaccines contain heavy metals (this is false) and can cause neurological issues. The vaccines will certainly cause allergic reactions in a small percentage of the population; this is why vaccine administration sites require those that have received the vaccines to wait in the area for at least 15 minutes before leaving. Please also remain vigilant against potentially false information that is being pushed on social media.