ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Over the past several weeks, coronavirus vaccines and safety protocols have been top priority for volunteers and healthcare workers at the Berglund Center.

“We’re all in it together, and as we all work together, we can help rollout these vaccines,” said Chad Alvarez, Senior Director of Pharmacy at Carilion Clinic.

The facility is currently a distribution site for thousands of people who live in the Roanoke Valley, many in search of some much-needed relief.

“I was elated to be able to get the vaccine,” said Barbara Richmond, a City of Roanoke resident. “I would like to see this pandemic end, and so of course, I want to do my part.”

However, a new threat has now made it’s way to the United States, and it’s causing some people to reconsider obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s pretty evident that this is starting to spread throughout the U.S.,” said Dr. Paul Skolnik, Chair of Medicine at Carilion Clinic.

Three variants of the coronavirus are now known by researchers, all identified by the country at which it was found: the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.

Several cases of the COVID-19 variant have already been reported in Virginia.

Despite the concern, health experts say getting the COVID-19 vaccine is still important.

“It’s going to tamp down the original virus, which in fact is what mutates and forms the variants,” Dr. Skolnik said.

Safety protocols should also continue to be followed, no matter the strain.

“Double down on wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and washing your hands. It’s really critical now, to do that, because these new variants, we don’t want them to spread through our community,” said Dr. Skolnik.

The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have all been recommended for their effectiveness against the virus, but experts warn another COVID-19 vaccine, or a stronger dose, may be needed if variants adapt.

“Time will tell. We don’t know yet if it’s going to be necessary,” Dr. Skolnik said.

CVS is set to start distributing COVID-19 vaccines at 36 pharmacies across Virginia on Friday, Feb. 12. All appointments have already been booked by people who have registered online in advance.