The rapid spread of the P.1 variant in some parts of Canada has added new urgency to the race between variants and vaccines.
While the bulk of variant cases in Canada involve the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., experts aren’t surprised by how quickly the P.1 variant has spread.
Though the variant does not appear to cause more severe illness, it can lower — not eliminate — the effectiveness of vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. However, both shots appear to protect against severe illness.
For AstraZeneca, early studies suggest the vaccine will protect against the P.1 variant and that the shot will not need to be modified.