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How do COVID-19 vaccines stand up to new variants of the virus? A medical expert weighs in

10 Tampa Bay talked with Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding who says getting a vaccine, no matter which one, is critical to saving 15 lives a day.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. — There are a lot of questions about COVID-19 and the latest information about new variants being found in Florida.

Each week 10 Tampa Bay speaks with Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding. He is an epidemiologist with the Federation of American Scientists and has been at the forefront of spreading facts not fear about coronavirus.

Three vaccines are available right now in the United States: the two-dose regimen from both Moderna and Pfizer and also the single shot from Johnson and Johnson.

There are also several variants of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.7 variant most prevalent in Florida.

RELATED: What we know about the COVID-19 variants found in Florida

We turned to Dr. Feigl-Ding for sharper insight into how these vaccines stand up against COVID-19 and the variants.

“For the vaccines, they have almost no difference for the current variants that we currently have, whether it's the common type, or the B.1.1.7. The vaccines all work great,” he said.

Dr. Feigl-Ding said while some research shows that two doses are best for maximal protection, the most important thing for public health as a whole is to get vaccinated.  

“Delaying the vaccine is a terrible choice. If you were to choose, just take whatever is available because every day for 100,000 vaccinations that are delayed by just one day 15 people will die.

We vaccinate 2.4 million per day. And so, if all those people just decided to get it next week, seven days later, instead of today, that would be a lot more deaths. So please don't try to cherry-pick which vaccine, just get the one you have right now. It will save you and those around you,” he said.

Dr. Feigl-Ding also touched on the AstraZeneca vaccine being suspended in other countries.  He says don’t focus on that and says it was done out of an abundance of caution.

 It should not make you question whether a vaccine is safe but feel confident that our vaccines are safe, he said. 

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