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Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Part of the reason experts are so willing to shake up the vaccine process is a new, more contagious strain of the virus that's spreading around the world.

Why it matters: There's no evidence so far that the mutation makes people any sicker. But if it's more contagious, that means more people getting sick, a certain portion of which will require care from the already-strained health care system.

  • That increased burden in itself could become more deadly, as patients receive a reduced quality of care.

State of play: So far, the mutation has been found in three states — California, Colorado and Florida. But some experts say it's only a matter of time before it becomes the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S., as it now is in the U.K.

  • "Epidemiological models and Britain's experience indicate that, while only a few cases of the variant have been identified in the United States, it will likely become our dominant strain within a few months," Wachter and Jha write in the Post.
  • "A more infectious virus means more cases, which means more hospitalizations and deaths. We need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible to save the most lives," they add.

Go deeper

20 hours ago - Health

Judge denies Massachusetts State Police attempt to delay state vaccine mandate

Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A Superior Court judge on Thursday denied the request of the union representing 1,800 Massachusetts State Police troopers to delay the governor's state employee vaccine mandate, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: State workers who aren't vaccinated in Massachusetts by Oct. 17 will face disciplinary action, including possible termination.

16 hours ago - Health

Federal judge upholds Cincinnati health care system's COVID vaccine mandate

Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Friday that a health care provider serving the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region can issue mandates requiring its more than 10,000 employees to get vaccinated or risk termination.

Why it matters: It's the latest ruling to uphold U.S. private employers' right to issue vaccine mandates, and comes after President Biden signed an executive order requiring vaccinations or once-a-week testing for companies with more than 100 employees.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

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