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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

Sep 28, 2021 - World

Japan to lift nationwide COVID-19 emergency restrictions

Photo: Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Japanese government announced Tuesday that the country's coronavirus state of emergency will end this week.

State of play: Japanese economic minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said "[m]easures will be gradually eased out to prevent early re-infection." Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said restrictions will end to allow people "to resume daily lives," adding that vaccination efforts will continue to prepare for a future virus resurgence, per AP.

Sep 28, 2021 - World

Vatican orders all employees to get vaccine or submit to testing

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

The Vatican City State said Tuesday that it will require all employees to provide proof of vaccination or documentation of a recent negative COVID test, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Pope Francis, who was vaccinated in January, has campaigned for people to get the shots, calling it a moral duty. Some Catholics, however, have argued for exemptions on religious grounds.

Sep 28, 2021 - Health

North Carolina hospital system fires 175 unvaccinated workers

Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A North Carolina-based hospital system has fired roughly 175 unvaccinated employees for failing to comply with its vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: It's one of the largest-ever cases of mass terminations spurred by a vaccine requirement. Over 99% of its 35,000 employees have adhered to the mandate, according to Novant director of media and influencer relations Megan Rivers.

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