Doctor: Getting COVID-19 vaccine important with new variants in Kansas, Missouri

Doctor: Getting COVID-19 vaccine important with new variants in Kansas, Missouri
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The number of U.K. variant COVID-19 cases in Kansas and Missouri has increased more than six times in the last month. Both states have confirmed they are now also seeing the South African variant.”It’s kind of like mice in your house. If you found one, you have to assume there’s more out there,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Kansas Health System.Hawkinson did a Zoom interview with us from his gym.”We know that you can be re-infected with these variants. We have good documentation,” he said.Hawkinson said the B.1.351, known as the South African variant, has two significant mutations. It’s more infectious. It cannot be treated with monoclonal antibodies.”I think we need to be concerned,” he said.It’s one additional reason he’s encouraging people to get the vaccine. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson all protect against the variants in the U.S.”We understand there still is vaccine hesitancy. It should not be hesitancy about safety. We know that these vaccines are safe,” Hawkinson said.Vaccines provide higher immunity than actually getting the disease. They prevent hospital visits, severe illness and death.”Lessen your anxiety or your loved ones’ anxiety about getting some of these variants,” Hawkinson said.He said that the best treatment is prevention, which you get from vaccines.To prevent illness doctors still encourage people to wear masks and keep up physical distancing. If you meet up with people, try to keep it outside and in small groups.

The number of U.K. variant COVID-19 cases in Kansas and Missouri has increased more than six times in the last month. Both states have confirmed they are now also seeing the South African variant.

“It’s kind of like mice in your house. If you found one, you have to assume there’s more out there,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Kansas Health System.

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Hawkinson did a Zoom interview with us from his gym.

“We know that you can be re-infected with these variants. We have good documentation,” he said.

Hawkinson said the B.1.351, known as the South African variant, has two significant mutations. It’s more infectious. It cannot be treated with monoclonal antibodies.

“I think we need to be concerned,” he said.

It’s one additional reason he’s encouraging people to get the vaccine. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson all protect against the variants in the U.S.

“We understand there still is vaccine hesitancy. It should not be hesitancy about safety. We know that these vaccines are safe,” Hawkinson said.

Vaccines provide higher immunity than actually getting the disease. They prevent hospital visits, severe illness and death.

“Lessen your anxiety or your loved ones’ anxiety about getting some of these variants,” Hawkinson said.

He said that the best treatment is prevention, which you get from vaccines.

To prevent illness doctors still encourage people to wear masks and keep up physical distancing. If you meet up with people, try to keep it outside and in small groups.

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