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University of Arizona: COVID-19 variant found on Tucson campus
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University of Arizona: COVID-19 variant found on Tucson campus

Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines against UK coronavirus variant

In this July 27, 2020, file photo, a nurse prepares a shot as a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway in Binghamton, N.Y. The U.S. is poised to give the green light as early as Friday, Dec. 18, to a second COVID-19 vaccine, a critical new weapon against the surging coronavirus. Doses of the vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health will give a much-needed boost to supplies as the biggest vaccination effort in the nation's history continues.

The University of Arizona has detected a coronavirus variant on campus through a research study, a UA health sciences official said Thursday. 

The presence of what is commonly called the UK variant virus strain in on campus means everyone should be more vigilant to prevent the spread of the spread of virus, Dr. Michael Dake, Senior Vice President of Health Sciences at the UA, said in a letter sent across the UA community. 

Face coverings are still required on campus, and Dake said it's important to continue to social distance, avoid large gatherings and frequently wash your hands. 

Dake also reminded students it's important to respond when contact tracers call and to be honest about close contacts. 

Gov. Doug Ducey visited the COVID-19 vaccination site at the University of Arizona Wednesday and answered questions from the media about the state's vaccine distribution, its feud with Pima County over a federally run vaccine pod, border issues and more.

With a new, more contagious strain of the virus, getting as many people vaccinated as possible is even more important, Dake said. 

The antibodies from the vaccine are still effective against COVID-19 variants and protect against them. 

The UA vaccine POD is accepting anyone over the age of 16 for vaccines as of Wednesday. Another round of vaccine appointments for next week will open Friday at 11 a.m. To schedule an appointment, visit podvaccine.azdhs.gov.

"The sooner we get a significant majority of people in our community vaccinated, the sooner we will have community immunity," Dake said.  "And the harder it will be for the variants of the virus to gain a foothold and continue to cause illness and death."

Contact reporter Stephanie Casanova at scasanova@tucson.com. On Twitter: @CasanovaReports


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Pima County will not yet follow the state's new guidelines of COVID-19 shots for anyone 16 and older, but will open appointments to some new groups starting Thursday, March 25. Here are all the details. 

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