An increasing amount of evidence suggests that most COVID-19 vaccines elicit a sufficient immune response to be effective against currently circulating variants. In particular, most COVID-19 vaccines are effective at significantly reducing the risk of severe health outcomes, such as hospitalization and death. Ongoing studies continue to evaluate the evidence to determine how well COVID-19 vaccines protect against various SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.

How do SARS-CoV-2 variants occur?

When a virus is widely circulating and infecting a lot of people within a population, the risk of the virus mutating increases. These mutations could eventually lead to variants that can infect people more easily, or make people sicker – and the more people who become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the more opportunities there are for new variants to emerge. Therefore, getting vaccinated as soon as you are eligible is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and to reduce the risk of variants.

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COVID-19 vaccines are saving lives. Getting vaccinated as soon as you are eligible will not only reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 and help protect those who cannot be vaccinated, but it will also decrease opportunities for new variants to emerge.

Visit the World Health Organization to learn more about the impact of SARS-CoV-2 variants on vaccines, and how we can help prevent future variants from forming.

To learn more about which vaccines are being tested and have been approved in each country, visit the trials and approved vaccines by country page.