GREEN BAY, Wis.— Dr. Michael Landrum says the best way to prevent the spread of five k​nown variants of COVID-19 in Wisconsin is to vaccinate the public.

Landrum is an infectious disease physician for Bellin Health in Green Bay. He says it’s urgent the state vaccinates as many people as possible because what the variants are known to do to those who get them.

B.1.1.7 "might be associated with more severe disease if you were to get it,” he said. “The strains that have been identified from California might be less susceptible to some of the treatments that we have. And some of them, the vaccine effectiveness can be reduced against them. It’s kind of a mix and match.”

He says despite the difference, one thing seems to be true for all variants.

“The vaccines do appear to protect you against the variants,” says Landrum. “The protection may not be quite the same against all the variants, but they still appear to protect against severe disease and hospitalization and death.”

Landrum has good reason to want to avoid another surge, especially with variant strains making their way into Wisconsin. He’s been working on the front lines throughout the pandemic and never want to experience the worst of the pandemic again.

“I mean, is it just cliche to say it’s been exhausting,” he said. “I feel like I’ve aged quite a bit this last year. It’s been like that for a lot of us, though. A year ago we were flying by the seat of our pants. We didn’t know really a lot about this virus.”

Even with the knowledge doctors have now, the existence variants proves there’s more doctors will learn.

He says besides getting vaccinated, wearing masks washing hands and social distancing are still effective ways to keep case numbers down.