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Are there different strains or variants of COVID-19?

Last Updated: 02/17/2023

Viruses constantly change or mutate, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur overtime. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist.

The CDC and the NJ Department of Health have recommended updated COVID-19 vaccines to everyone six months and older.

The continued emergence of new variants further emphasize the importance of vaccination. Vaccines provide essential protection against severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

No matter the variant, a surge in cases can impact healthcare resources. Even if a particular variant is less likely to cause severe disease, an increase in the total number of cases could cause an increase in hospitalizations, put more strain on healthcare resources, and potentially lead to more deaths.

How do I protect myself from these variants?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is always changing, and protection from COVID-19 vaccines declines over time. Receiving an updated COVID-19 vaccine can restore protection and provide enhanced protection against the variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the United States.

Everyone 6 months or older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey and is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Updated COVID-19 vaccines offer protect against potentially serious COVID-19 infections this fall and winter. Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration.  If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself this fall and winter. Learn more.

For more information on how to protect yourself and others, refer to this article.

Source: CDC Recommends Updated COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall/Winter Virus Season | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC