Frequently Asked Questions about New COVID-19 Variants

Variants emerge as a result of naturally occurring mutations in viruses. For example, the flu virus mutates often, which is why doctors recommend a new flu vaccine each year.

Researchers monitor all COVID-19 variants but may classify certain ones, like Omicron and Delta, as “variants of concern.” This is determined by which variants spread more easily, cause more severe cases than other variants, or evade vaccine protection.

As long as COVID-19 spreads, mutations and new variants are expected to occur. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 variants is to stay up to date with vaccines. Being vaccinated decreases the likelihood you will get sick and makes it less likely you will need hospitalization or die if you get infected.

Updated November 22, 2023 

Messaging Resources about New COVID-19 Variants

Misinformation Alerts about New COVID-19 Variants

Viral image questions the validity of dangerous COVID-19 variants

A tech CEO posted a meme questioning what happened to all the “dangerous” COVID-19 variants. The heavily circulated image has been viewed over 69 million times. One post sharing the image claims that once mass COVID-19 vaccination ended, the virus stopped evolving, implying that officials only said variants were dangerous to get people vaccinated. Recommendation:

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Latest COVID-19 variant continues to drive false claims

Several social media posts have gone viral over the last week claiming that emerging COVID-19 variants and the updated vaccine available this fall are the result of the upcoming election and Pfizer stock decreasing. The posts also imply that the fall vaccination campaign is being driven by a desire for pharmaceutical profits and not public

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Viral posts question COVID-19 variant’s origin and the need for boosters

Many widely circulated social media posts cast doubt on new and emerging COVID-19 variants and the recent surge in infections. Some of these posts speculate that talk of a new COVID-19 wave is related to upcoming elections, while others claim it’s tied to declining profits for pharmaceutical companies. A popular conspiracy radio host claims that

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