Health officials urge people to get vaccinated as COVID-19 variants spread across Kentucky


. (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Variants of the COVID-19 virus are starting to spread across Kentucky.

While the symptoms from some of these cases tend to be worse, doctors say there is something you can do now, to protect yourself.

Governor Beshear is urging people to get the vaccine as soon as they can, as cases involving COVID variants continue to pop up across the state.

Lexington emergency physician Dr. Ryan Stanton says it’s normal and expected for the COVID virus to change and shift as it reproduces, as cases increase and as more and more people get it.

He says the main difference in these variants, especially the one associated with coming from South Africa, is their symptoms tend to be a little worse and the variants seem like they’re more easily spread.

But, Dr. Stanton says there is good news.

The vaccines are proving to be effective against the worst symptoms of the virus, like ending up in the ICU or having to be on a ventilator.

“What it doesn’t do is completely prevent as effectively. But we are talking about numbers in the 70 and 80 percent of those cases will be completely prevented,” Dr. Stanton said. “So, there’s still significant protection. The most important thing is it’s protecting against those bad outcomes that have taken the lives of half a million Americans.”

According to the governor’s office, there are more than 40 known cases involving the COVID variant.

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