As COVID-19 vaccination rates start to slow down and the leniency of wearing masks in California, the more unvaccinated people have become more comfortable leaving the house. However, as they become more content with being unvaccinated, the risk of the Coronavirus mutating within them are much higher. Once an unvaccinated person catches the Coronavirus, it mutates the longer it is stayed within the body.
“Unvaccinated people are potential variant factories,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN Friday, “When it does, it mutates, and it could throw off a variant mutation that is even more serious down the road.”From the CNN article, “Unvaccinated people are ‘variant factories,’ infectious diseases expert says”
The virus multiplies to unvaccinated people more easily since they lack the protection from the vaccine. The main issue with mutations forming at a higher risk is that it can become so strong that the current vaccines cannot protect vaccinated people. This will cause another wave of a different variant and the progress of bringing society back to ‘normal’ will regress. Most mutations are not crucial making the virus more severe, but some can give advantages like easier transmissibility and faster replication. If the mutation is successful, it becomes a variant. In order for the variant to officially spread, it needs to find a vulnerable host: an unvaccinated person.
This is not the first time a variant mutated from the Coronavirus spread across countries. For example, D614G is a mutation that originated from Europe and spread to the United States and around of the world. This mutation was successful for faster replication and became more common compared to the original strain that started in China. Most of the recorded mutations are added to D614G. For example, B.1.1.7, also known as the Alpha variant, became the dominant variant in the United States due to its ability to transmit more easily.
So far the current vaccines can still protect vaccinated people from the variants, but it is worrisome for the future when more variants host unvaccinated people and spread to even the vaccinated people. The longer the Coronavirus is allowed to spread to others, the bigger possibility for there to be more variants that cannot be protected from our current vaccines and research. The slowing demand for vaccines in the United States is becoming more unsettling as some unvaccinated people have adjusted to a mindset thinking that they are only putting themselves at risk when in reality they are putting everyone at risk for another wave of the virus variant that could have originated from them.