New variants of COVID-19

New variants of COVID-19 have emerged in several places around the world. Keep up with the latest variants here.

On this page, you can find the following information:

Is it normal for viruses to change?

It is normal for viruses to constantly change. This is known as mutation. These changes create new strains or variants of viruses. Read about why and how viruses change. 

Many variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been found around the world during this pandemic and have spread to other countries. They are now named using the Greek alphabet according to the order in which they have been identified. Current known variants are Alpha (identified in the UK), Beta (identified in South Africa), Gamma (identified in Brazil), Delta (identified in India) and Omicron (identified in South Africa).

Read more about COVID variants here : COVID-19 variants – Ministry of Health

Does the COVID-19 vaccine work on the COVID-19 Omicron variant?

Being up-to-date with your vaccinations means that you have had a full set of primary doses plus any booster vaccinations you are currently eligible for. Vaccination will reduce your risk of having serious COVID-19 symptoms if you do get COVID-19. There is some evidence that getting a COVID-19 vaccination (if you are not already vaccinated) can help to aid recovery during long COVID. Read about protection against long COVID.

People who are up-to-date with their vaccines can still become infected with COVID-19 but the risk is much lower than people who are not up-to-date with their vaccines. Protection against infection from COVID-19 decreases over time.

References

  1. New COVID-19 variants Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US, 2019
  2. COVID-19 variants Ministry of Health NZ 2022
  3. The effects of virus variants on COVID-19 vaccines World Health Organization, 2021
  4. About the omicron variant Ministry of Health, NZ, 2022
  5. Omicron vs Delta – how the 2 variants compare, according to experts and research Health.com, US, 2022 
Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.