B.1.1.7 variant is spreading across East Lansing, creating urgency for vaccinations

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Amber Higgins

Starting April 5, anyone 18 or older is eligible for the vaccine

The B.1.1.7. U.K coronavirus variant is in East Lansing, causing concern this will lead to another spike or whether the vaccine can stop the spread.

Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley recently sent an email to students regarding the new variant and the unease the staff and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laboratory have regarding the infection rate and the severity of symptoms. 

Kenna Clements, second year med student at MSUCOM, worries this variant will cause a rise in cases.

“It is more contagious, so it could lead to bigger spikes. With that comes people that are more susceptible. Maybe they have underlying conditions, maybe they have autoimmune conditions, or they are older. That would definitely put those people more at risk, so I do fear for them,” said Clements. 

According to Michigan’s COVID vaccine website, on March 23, 2,400,319 state residents had been vaccinated.

“I am hopeful with the vaccine that more people are getting that as well, and that could help stop the variant from spreading to the levels that we saw earlier in the year,” said Clements. “The only thing that the vaccine is really doing is giving you the tools to have the ability to better fight it, if you were to interact with the COVID molecules or the virus itself.”

Dr. Tom Alguire

Dr. Tom Alguire, physician board certified in internal medicine and hospice and palliative care with 45 years of experience in the medical field, worries that students don’t see the severity of the issue and will be hesitant to get the vaccine. 

“Kids think they are non-vulnerable because most of the time you don’t see sick people so you think everything is OK. I think it is going to take awhile for people’s minds to change, they are going to have to have a friend or a relative get sick and die before they realize it touches everybody,” said Alguire.

Lukas Miner, Michigan State student, fears that the tests for these vaccines have not gone through an appropriate amount of testing and time to be safe for his age demographic.

“I believe it is good for older people, I just don’t believe that the younger generations should be a part of the tests. I know it hasn’t gone through enough trials for me to feel comfortable,” said Miner. 

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