As we all continue to deal with the COVID 19 outbreak as more provinces are easing restrictions there is still some concerns regarding the virus, specifically the Delta variant. Based on information from the CDC, PHAC and ECDC regarding some recent outbreaks, we have created the information bulletin below,
Please note: Information regarding COVID 19 changes frequently, sometimes within the same day, including the details of various government assistance programs, regulations, and best practices. As such it is extremely important carefully review each update and obtain information from credible government, health service or public health units.
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What is a variant?
Viruses constantly change through mutation as the virus is spread, which results in variations of the original virus known as a variant. Variants are small changes compared to the original version of the virus and can influence the rate of transmission and infection and impact the severity of the disease caused by the virus.
What is the Delta variant?
The Delta variant or B.1.617.2 strain is a variant that has been cited as the “fittest and fastest” variant of COVID-19 to date. It is now the dominant strain in the United States, Canada, India, UK, and Mexico. It has been found to spread more easily and quickly than other variants and early studies show this variant is more transmittable than the common cold. Some studies suggest that the Delta variant also increases an individual’s risk of having severe outcomes after COVID-19 infection. Public Health England published a study from Scotland indicating that people infected with the Delta variant were 85% more likely to be hospitalized compared to those infected with other variants (predominantly Alpha) a further study out of Alabama indicates upwards of 60% of those infected with the Delta Variant require hospitalization and medical intervention sooner than the people with other forms of the virus.
Of particular concern with the Delta variant is that it appears to transmit more easily among younger populations. This may lead to more cases of COVID-19, increased hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths. Children and adults aged 5-49 years are 2.5 times more likely to become infected with the Delta variant compared with those 50 years or older. This highlights the importance of all individuals, not just those at increased risk, getting vaccinated. It also reiterates the importance of masking and social distancing for those unable to be vaccinated.
Are vaccines effective against the delta variant?
Early research shows the vaccines the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, do offer protection against the Delta variant. On the contrary, people who have not been fully vaccinated, or those who are only partially vaccinated (one dose of Pfizer or Moderna), are at highest risk of being infected by the Delta variant. Current information about the effectiveness of vaccines are as follows:
- Pfizer is reported to be 87.9% effective two weeks after the second dose against the delta variant; this is compared to 33.2% efficacy after one dose. An analysis of 14,019 people with delta variant also showed there is a 94% efficacy against severe disease (i.e., admission to the hospital) after one dose and 96% after two doses.
- Moderna vaccine is similar to Pfizer and expected to have comparable
- Real world effectiveness data is not yet available for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 However, Johnson & Johnson has provided information about effectiveness based on