It’s been more than 5 months since the first COVID-19 vaccine received an Emergency Use Authorization. Early supply chain challenges have been worked out, for the most part, so most adults have ready access to the vaccine, which costs nothing to receive. And yet, as of May 20, less than half the U.S. population ages 18 years and older is fully vaccinated. As you undoubtedly know, many of those who have declined so far either don’t trust the vaccine approval process or think they’re protected by antibodies. Others, however, claim there’s no point in getting the shot “because it doesn’t protect against the variants, anyway.” The next time you hear that one, let the patient know that the World Health Organization announced that the existing vaccines being administered in the United States do protect against the four main variants known, to date—those discovered in Brazil, India, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The most recently uncovered variant (India) is of particular concern to the WHO because it has been detected in 26 of the organization’s 53 European region nations. As such, the latest development that the vaccine protects against the variant may be especially effective with those who plan to travel abroad this summer. On that note, JUCM just published an article that details essential information for urgent care providers who offer screenings and immunizations for patients with big travel plans. You can read Pretravel Consultations in the Urgent Care Setting here.

Tell Vaccine-Hesitant Patients: U.S.-Approved COVID-19 Shots Protect Against Variants