Emerging COVID-19 Delta variant is another good reason to get your vaccine
Vaccination also helps protect children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible for the shot
The number of U.S. COVID-19 cases is on the rise again, with increases shown in every state, driven in part by the highly contagious Delta variant.
The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, appears to be much more contagious and also causing a surge of new cases of the virus in many parts of the world. The good news is that Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson report that their COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the Delta variant.
That’s another strong reason to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. And the best way to protect children younger than 12, who aren’t yet eligible for vaccination.
People who are not vaccinated are still contracting COVID-19 at high rates, and they account for nearly all COVID deaths in the U.S., an Associated Press analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows. And unvaccinated people who become ill with the Delta variant are twice as likely to be hospitalized as those who contract the dominant variant in the U.S.
“The best way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 is to get your vaccine,” said Dr. Drew Oliveira, senior executive medical director for Regence. “As new, more contagious, variants like Delta emerge, the vaccine offers strong protection for you and your loved ones.”
Children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, are particularly vulnerable to the Delta variant, so following public health guidance for masks, hand-washing and physical distancing is encouraged when indoors or socializing with people who have not been fully vaccinated.
The Delta variant accounts for more than a quarter of new U.S. cases and has caused some parts of the country to again require masks in public places, even while such precautions have fallen away in many places. While the CDC has said you can go without a mask if you have been vaccinated, public health officials still recommend wearing a mask in crowded public spaces or in areas where vaccination rates are low.
“While we have made great progress in reducing COVID infections and increasing vaccination rates, we still have work to do,” Oliveira said.
Young adults, in particular, are showing lower rates of vaccination and higher rates of infection, and are encouraged to get the vaccine, which is free.
The CDC recommends vaccination for people 12 and older. Regence covers COVID-19 vaccinations at no cost under most health plans. Your state health department will be your best source of information about where you can get vaccinated. Or you can visit vaccinefinder.org. More information about your coverage for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment can be found at regence.com.