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The Delta Variant? And What About the Booster Shot? By Our Student Pharmacist, James Wilson.

[Header] COVID-19 Delta

Have you been having questions about what the delta variant of COVID-19 is and how that may affect your need for a booster shot?

Hopefully I can answer some of your questions in this post.

What are Variants of a Virus?

As viruses spread, they change and mutate over time. These changes in the virus are seen on what are called spiked proteins that exist on the outside of the virus. Many variants can pop-up from a virus; some appear and quickly go away while others may persist for a long time.

The original variant of COVID-19 during the early parts of 2020 is no longer being spread. The alpha variant replaced the original variant as the predominant one near mid to late 2020. Now the delta variant has replaced the alpha variant as the predominant variant.

The delta variant has been found to be two times as contagious as the previous alpha variant and data suggests that it can cause higher rates of severe cases needing hospitalization.

Do the Vaccines Protect Against the Delta Variant?

The current vaccines have been shown to be effective in preventing infections caused by the delta variant as well as preventing serious cases that can lead to hospitalization or death. However, the vaccines are not 100% effective.

The delta variant can cause a breakthrough infection in fully vaccinated individuals.

[Booster] mRNA Vaccines

Do I Need to Get the Booster Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a booster shot for immunocompromised patients who had received an mRNA vaccine, Pfizer and Moderna.

The recommendation was for moderately to severe immunocompromised patients and includes:

  • Patients receiving cancer treatment.
  • Patients who received an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressants.
  • Patients who received a stem cell transplant in the last two years.
  • Advanced or untreated HIV.
  • Active treatment with a high dose corticosteroid.

Just recently on 08/18/2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) started plans to provide booster shots to everyone who has received either Pfizer or Moderna. They noted that both vaccines still protect against severe cases, but there has been a decline in efficacy against mild to moderate cases. The decision to approve a booster shot is in anticipation that efficacy against severe cases may start to decline in the coming months; note that efficacy of all vaccines diminish over time. HHS is prepared to supply booster shots to all Americans the week of September 20 and individuals can get theirs eight months after their second dose.

Currently, there is no recommendation of a booster shot for Janssen. However, this could change as more and more data on efficacy comes in over the next few weeks.

I hope this helped clear up some questions you may have had about the latest news on COVID-19. If you have any more questions that need answered, please stop by or call Plain City Druggist and we will be more than happy to answer them for you.


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