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Fauci: Will COVID vaccinations protect against UK variant? We're examining closely

Dr. Anthony Fauci joined The National Desk anchor Jan Jeffcoat to discuss COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout. (SBG)

WASHINGTON (SBG) - “The [variant] we know the most about is the one in the UK, which is associated with maybe a two-fold increase in transmissibility,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci on The National Desk.

Scientists in the UK say the new variant isn’t more deadly, but an increase in transmissibility means an increase in hospital cases, Fauci said.

“When you have that many more people getting infected, some of them are going to be in the hospital and some of them are going to die,” Fauci said. “So you're indirectly, as it were, increasing the deaths.”

The big question, according to Fauci, is whether the new variants will have any impact on the efficacy of the currently approved vaccines.

“The Brits tell us that their isolate doesn't seem to, but we're going to examine that a lot more closely to make sure, to do it ourselves, to get the isolate and to test it,” Fauci said.

Whether the vaccines continue to work against new COVID variants isn’t an all or nothing situation, according to Fauci.

“It might lessen it a bit, the efficacy, but it would be unusual to completely shut it off,” said Dr. Fauci. “If it, in fact, even begins to lessen it, then you have to start thinking in terms of modifying the vaccine and getting people to come back maybe for another shot to get a boost against this particular isolate.”