Health experts: New variants may emerge if more Americans don't get COVID-19 vaccine
Health experts say if more Americans don't get COVID-19 shots, a new variant may emerge at home - one that vaccines might not stand up against.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Sandra Kesh says that states are already struggling to fend off the delta variant, and others could follow.
"We can certainly see a variant emerge that is not only much more contagious, but also causes much more severe disease, and that would be catastrophic," says Kesh.
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Doctors say they are currently looking into at least two emerging variants, including delta plus, which may be just as bad as the delta strain, and the lambda mutation, which the World Health Organization reports may be highly transmissible and severe.
Dr. Kesh tells News 12 if 90-95% Americans were vaccinated, COVID-19 would no longer be a problem.
"The solution is very much within our reach, but until we have people who are really so reluctant to get vaccinated, we're just not going to get there," says Kesh.
Many health experts don't think people need booster shots yet, but may need them in the future.
"This is still going to circulate for a long time in other parts of the world and people travel, and they'll bring new variants to the states and that's just the reality of it. The only way to really keep yourself safe is to get vaccinated," says Kesh.
Dr. Kesh says it will be just as important to keep up with booster shots in the years ahead, especially for those who are older or immunocompromised.