MU students share their concerns for COVID-19 vaccines and variants

MU students share their concerns and level of confidence with the COVID-19 vaccines and coronavirus mutations.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) on Dec. 11, 2020 for the first COVID-19 vaccine. A EUA allows medical procedures to be used in emergency situations without approval. EUAs for COVID-19 vaccines will make the process to get Americans vaccinated much faster.

However, in the past month, several new variants of COVID-19 have appeared all over the world.

When asked if they were concerned about these new variants of COVID-19, MU junior Shannon Belt did not appear to be too worried.

“I am not super worried about [the new variants] because I am going into it with that ignorant attitude … it’s not here, so I am not going to worry about it till it gets here,” Belt said on January 26th.

Sophomore CJ Nesser also was not worried about the variants.

Nesser said, “I am not a scientist nor a science major, but the things I have seen shows that the vaccine does work on a majority of those [variants].”

The COVID-19 variants may not be alarming at first, but the situation of the pandemic is evolving rapidly each day. On Jan. 25, a lab in Minnesota discovered the first case of the Brazilian variant in the US. On Jan. 28th, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed the first case of the South African variant in the US. According to the CDC dashboard, no variants of the virus have been found in Missouri as of Feb. 6.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine, in an interview with CNBC, demonstrated his concern with the variants is that they will result in more infections and deaths.

Belt did have a concern with the vaccine’s efficacy with the introduction of the variants.

“I am definitely worried about [the vaccines not working with the new variants],” Belt said. “I just think that there is just no real way to get a vaccine that works with all of [them].”

In a COVID-19 town hall with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the president, stated that the vaccines should work against the new variants of the virus but stressed the need for more research to prove that they are effective against the strains. Fauci added that the South African variant is particularly concerning, and that companies are already working on ways to adapt their vaccines to work against it.

Nesser is confident that the vaccine will work and is not worried.

“I am very pro-vaccine when it comes to this stuff,” Nesser said. “I think if we can all rally around the fact that [the vaccine] will be a betterment for all the people of the United States, then we will be good to go.”

However, Belt shared a few concerns regarding the vaccine.

“The side effects mainly are my worries about the vaccine and how it’s going to affect certain groups of people and whether or not it will make anything better,” Belt said.

According to the New York Times, there is a greater number of people who have had side effects than would otherwise be seen from flu vaccines, but most people who receive the vaccine do not experience severe effects.

The CDC states on their website that they are trying to ensure that the vaccine is safe for all communities and groups of people.

While it may be too soon to tell if the vaccines are working and if the variants will deter our progress in the fight against the virus, we will learn more about the effectiveness of the vaccines as people continue to be vaccinated.

_Edited by Sophie Chappell |

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