UAB doctor says COVID-19 vaccine will help prevent new variants from forming

Possibility of more COVID variants being discovered in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As positive cases of a COVID-19 variant emerge, doctors worry other new variants will soon be found in the state.

Director of UAB’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Dr. David Kimberlin, said he is not surprised the U.K. variant is here in Alabama. He said other new variants will likely be diagnosed in the future.

“I think as we look more, we are most certainly going to find additional variants over time,” Kimberlin said. “I think we are going to find more variants here.”

The CDC reports multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating globally right now. The CDC said the U.K. variant spreads more easily than other variants. The CDC is also watching a variant from Brazil and one from South Africa, both said to also be highly transmissible.

Dr. Kimberlin says it’s likely even more variants will develop - like a new variant in California - and that just means we need to get people vaccinated as fast as possible.

“The more people you have immune to this virus, the broad stroke of this virus, then the harder it is for the virus to spread from person to person,” Kimberlin said. “Therefore, the harder it is for it to develop new variants. If you make it harder to be able to find someone to infect, then it is going to decrease the likelihood that we will see one of these variants.”

Dr. Kimberlin said new variants being confirmed in Alabama means that it is not time to relax safety precautions.

He encouraged everyone to be more diligent about masks and social distancing.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.