By CNN staff | March 12, 2021 at 1:01 PM EST – Updated March 14 at 4:48 PM
(CNN) – In the war on COVID-19, there are still plenty of questions.
First, how long do the vaccines last and do they work against the highly contagious coronavirus variants?
“While we are starting to see emerging evidence that the vaccines remain effective through circulating variants and that the risk of breakthrough infections in vaccinating persons and spreading the virus to others is low, we must be resolute to fully answer these critical questions,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All three companies with vaccines now authorized in the United States are working to make sure their product provides protection against the variants.
This week, Moderna announced the first participants have received its modified COVID-19 vaccines, designed as potential boosters.
What to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine
In the battle against the variants, two strategies are being pursued.
Vaccinated people could get specific booster shots against each variant that crops up, or a get shot that offers protection against several variants.
“Here is the challenge: Are we going to chase each variant in an almost ‘whack-a-mole’ way or are we going to try and get a vaccine that has a good degree of cross-protection against several and get the level of virus so low that we don’t really have an outbreak proportion,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
And that all hinges on more Americans getting their COVID-19 vaccines.
“We ask for your participation by rolling up your sleeve when it’s your turn to be vaccinated, and we ask for your leadership in helping others do both of the same,” Walensky said.
Vaccine maker Moderna says they hope to have results on a COVID-19 vaccine booster by May, possibly earlier.
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