Taking a look at the last six months (about the time COVID-19 vaccines started to open up to the broader public), we have seen vaccination rates around the country drop and hospitalization cases increase, due to emerging COVID-19 variants. While vaccination efficacy continues to show reassuring outcomes, variants (mainly the Delta variant), are causing concern among the unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated population.
Here are some more details:
COVID-19 Cases & Data
Despite the evidence showing vaccines working well against COVID-19 variants, vaccination rates have slowed country-wide while the virus continues to spread fast among the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated population. Secondly, the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, is spreading at a high volume, resulting in more severe and more contagious COVID-19 cases. This variant currently accounts for about 10% of U.S. cases and is doubling every two weeks (Dr. Gottlieb, 2021).
Considering the fact that many Americans remain hesitant about getting vaccinated while the more transmissible variants are on the rise and people are getting back to pre-COVID activities, experts are worried about future surges.
Vaccines Are Working
In light of these contagious mutations of COVID-19, evidence is showing that vaccines continue to provide excellent protection against the variants.
With different variants, and being partially or fully vaccinated, the efficacy rates vary. With strong and more contagious variants, such as the Delta variant, the efficacy of Pfizer drops to about 52% if only one dose is received and that it is only effective a few weeks after receiving the vaccine. However, with two doses, and ofer a one- to two-week period, the Pfizer vaccine efficacy only drops ~5% from 100% protection against COVID-19. That gap could be the difference between catching COVID-19 and getting to enjoy summer outdoors.
So how can you protect yourself and those around you?
Get fully vaccinated, if you can! Trends show that the majority of COVID-19 cases are among those who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Additionally, these individuals are more likely to not be protected against the COVID-19 variants. For example, Colorado has about 500 people hospitalized with COVID and almost all of these individuals are unvaccinated, while, as of June 10, fewer than 2% of the COVID-19 cases confirmed in Colorado since mid-January have involved people fully vaccinated against the virus (Daley, 2021).
Respect those around you and mask up when asked. Continue to be mindful and respectful of others around you, as some individuals may be unable to receive the vaccine or may not be able to get fully protected despite being fully vaccinated due to medical reasons. This practice displays responsibility and respect to those applying the safety precautions despite restrictions being relaxed. Helping the community and getting back to the things we love is the objective we’re trying to reach, so live responsbily and respectfully.