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The Delta Variant:Why Vaccinated People Must Continue To Protect Against COVID-19

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) removed its masking recommendation on May 13, 2021, but it now has been reinstated due to the explosion of COVID-19 Delta variant cases. In the short time before the recommendation was reinstated, the rate of infection by Delta climbed from 1% of active cases in the United States to over 83%. The Delta variant is spread more easily, more rapidly, including among children, and appears to produce even more severe illness than previous COVID-19 variants. Infected vaccinated people shed as many virus causing particles as unvaccinated people.

There is a small but growing number of fully vaccinated people becoming ill from the Delta variant. Researchers are still trying to determine if there are any patterns among these people, such as age or underlying health conditions. Researchers have determined that vaccines do help to prevent severe illness in most vaccinated people.

It is overwhelmingly the unvaccinated population that the Delta variant is severely impacting, including those unvaccinated by choice, as well as those who do not currently qualify for the vaccines due to current age and other prerequisites.

Hospitalization and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) cases remain made up predominantly of unvaccinated adults. However, the number of ICU admissions and severe cases in children ages 17 and under has been increasing. Since the vaccine was only recently approved for children in the 12-to-17-year age group, only a small percentage of children have been able to receive both vaccines. Delta is ruthless and targets all unvaccinated people.

Researchers are still studying the different COVID-19 variants and their possible long-term effects on different age groups, especially children. It is important to note that with each infected person the virus has the potential to mutate once again, and the outcome can be unpredictable.

The primary strategies to protect yourself and your family are: getting vaccinated if you have not yet done so, continuing to wear a mask when in crowds or around people whose vaccination status is unknown, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding touching your eyes and face. Also, encourage your unvaccinated loved ones to get a vaccine, and if you can, avoid being around people unvaccinated by choice. If you feel sick, get tested, and make efforts to quarantine yourself from others. As we move closer to the new school year, it is also critical to discuss the importance of wearing a mask and hand washing with your school-aged children.

Symptoms of the Delta variant in previously vaccinated people often present as a stuffy nose, sore throat, or headache. However, it can present the same symptoms of the original variant of COVID-19, or somewhat milder. These symptoms include: fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, body aches, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, congestion, loss of smell, loss of taste, headache, nausea, diarrhea.

The U.S.H.C.A., in partnership with the leadership at the State of Texas, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Catholic Diocese of Austin, and Austin Independent School District, routinely hosts barrier-free, no identification required events to provide COVID-19 vaccinations. The U.S.H.C.A. and our partners also plan to re-establish free testing events which will continue to be barrier-free, no identification required. If you are interested in getting a vaccination for yourself or a loved one or would like to know more about where to get testing, please contact your local U.S.H.C.A. chapter or visit your chapter’s Facebook page for more information.