The New York coronavirus variant, B.1.526, does not appear to be less responsive to vaccines despite concerns.
Dr. Jay Varma, Senior Advisor for Public Health, said, “We have not found [vaccine resistance] at all, and we are looking very aggressively and actively.”
He made these statements at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press conference on Monday, in response to a reporter question regarding the variant. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, expressed concern in media interviews that B.1.526 was preventing infection rates form going down and may be reinfecting people, WCBS 880 reported.
Varma noted it was an ongoing process of research and “if we do find anything concerning that changes we do, we will absolutely be the first one to let you know.”
Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi cautioned that B.1.526 does appear to be more infectious, but he stressed there is no indication it causes more severe diseases or reinfections.
“I do want to assure all New Yorkers that these are things that we are looking at very carefully because it’s very important for us to be able to answer those questions, because we do not have any evidence that indicates that it causes more severe disease or leads to reinfection or reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, but we will continue to investigate this and keep the public updated on our findings,” Chokshi said.
Both doctors stressed the continued importance of masking, social distancing, avoiding large indoor gatherings, and getting the vaccine.