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Delta Variant & COVID-19 Vaccines: Updated Information and Resources

A person receiving a vaccination

By Robert Kinnaird

The Delta variant has become the prominent form of the virus, with around 83 percent of COVID-19 cases in the United States being caused by this more contagious variant. First found in December 2020, this has become the fastest spreading and most transmissible version of the coronavirus in the United States. This variant is threatening to undo some of our progress, but we are not without tools to address COVID-19.

First and foremost, we now have widespread availability of vaccines that remain effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations, and death even with the Delta variant. Practices like masking indoors, even for vaccinated individuals, testing, contact tracing, quarantining if exposed and isolating if positive, as well as ventilation improvements and social distancing are also important public health strategies we need to continue to use. The Delta variant is highly contagious, and it represents a major threat to unvaccinated individuals and communities with low vaccination rates.

Moreover, the CDC is urging all unvaccinated pregnant women to get vaccinated as expectant women run a higher risk of severe illness and complications from COVID-19. The vaccine has not yet been approved for children under twelve, but the number of cases among children have been increasing in recent weeks. Cases among children are usually mild, but they are occurring more often as the Delta variant becomes the prominent version of the virus

For those who are vaccinated, breakthrough cases can still occur, but when vaccinated people get sick their cases are usually significantly milder. The CDC defines breakthrough cases as the detection of COVID-19 RNA or antigens fourteen or more days after completing all recommended doses of any vaccine approved for emergency use by the FDA. Other vaccines have been known to have similar breakthrough occurrences, including vaccines for the flu or measles, but like the COVID-19 vaccines, they are known to drastically decrease the intensity of the symptoms suffered as compared to an unvaccinated patient. As of now the CDC is not tracking breakthrough cases that do not result in hospitalization or death, making it difficult to grasp how many mild infections there are among vaccinated populations. The CDC is saying that breakthrough cases are uncommon – but also report that their data is lacking. What we do know is that vaccinated people make up less than 5% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

We are also seeing an increase in demand for vaccinations as a result of this variant. All 50 states are reporting rising vaccination rates and nationwide we hit rates as high as 800,00 doses in a day on Sunday, August 1st. However, rural and immigrant populations that want access to the vaccine are still struggling to gain access to it in many places. MCN has several resources to help bolster vaccination efforts in communities like this such as our Vaccine Awareness Campaign Resources made in partnership with the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM) which can be customized to fit the needs of your community, answering questions they care about and letting them know what they can do to get vaccinated. 

 

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