When you need to know what's happening with the coronavirus, join KICKS 105.5 every Thursday morning. Dr. Rajeev Fernando answers your COVID-19 questions.

Dr. Rajeev Fernando is one of New York's Top Infectious Disease Specialists and this week, he answers questions concerning pertaining to if the COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from the other variants and if you should get the vaccine if you already had the virus.

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Let's discuss what's happening right now with the virus. Many states are lifting restrictions, which we both don't agree with, we're seeing an uptick in cases, plus we've got other variants we're dealing with now. So where do we stand with this virus?

"First of all, I think the U.S. has done a brilliant job with vaccinations, we're closing in on three million vaccines a day, as opposed to Europe and South America which are in shambles. Places like Germany, Paris, where the ICU's are full and many are going into lockdowns again. Here in the U.S., we're running at about 50,000 cases a day which is not a great baseline to me, but it's certainly down from the 300,000 cases we had a few months ago. The reason this is happening is because of our aggressive vaccination campaign and herd immunity is starting to kick in. With regards to your comment about relaxing restrictions, I'm in complete agreement, I think it's a good idea to reopen things slowly but surely. However, the most important thing I want to stress is for people to have common sense and look at the different situations. I'm in complete agreement that if you want to go out to dinner, that's fine, just wear your mask and follow the recommendations and I think you'll be fine, get vaccinated and respect the capacity restrictions. We have to get back to some degree of normalcy, but you've got to use common sense and follow the CDC guidelines. If we do all these things and follow that, I think we'll be in good shape."

Cathy in Dover Plains says she's heard about all these other strains of the virus and wants to know if the current COVID-19 vaccine will protect people from the other variants.

"Absolutely, the strains that we have right now, the U.K. strain, the Brazil strain and the New York strain, the vaccine covers it very effectively. Remember, the most important thing for a vaccine is to really prevent death and prevent hospitalization, and all of these vaccines are close to 100% effective. We're in pretty good shape with that, but we are still waiting for more information on these variants and we're studying them very closely. Some of the variants have the potential to cause more severe disease, but we haven't confirmed any of that so we have to keep watching them closely. And remember, viruses mutate thousands and thousands of times and over the last year we haven't had that many mutations which could cause clinical significance. In the meantime, the thing we can all do is get out there and get vaccinated. It's the right thing to do for yourself and for the community as we try to build up herd immunity."

Casey is in Danbury and he said he heard an interview on the news and the doctor said it could be dangerous for someone who's had the virus already to get the vaccine. Have you heard anything about this?

"That is inaccurate information. When you have a natural infection, your body actually builds up antibodies to fight another infection. The problem with that is these antibody levels are variable, we don't know how much the body produces and how long it stays. For the most part, if you have natural antibodies and then get a dose of a vaccine, you get more antibody production. So that just tells you it's a great idea to get a vaccine. But as of now, we have no indication that there would be any complications from getting a vaccine after you've had COVID-19, you can take that to the bank, I'd bet my right kidney on it. I always like to give positive information rather then a lot of the media outlets who tend to keep saying negative things. At this time, we just have to look up and be positive. There is light at the end of the tunnel, we know what we have to do, get the vaccine and follow the CDC recommendations. We're not there yet, but stay safe, keep the faith, and we'll get there."

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