COVID-19 variants and vaccination trends

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Hand in blue glove with a pen writing the words 'COVID-19 new variants' on a white index card next to a medical face mask.

This article has been reviewed by our chief medical consultant Dr. Charles Schutz. Source data for this article were gathered from the CDC and FDA.

An increase in vaccinations and a decrease in COVID-19 cases has led most U.S. cities and states to reopen to a pre-pandemic level of normalcy.

However, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is not over as more than 40% of the U.S. population are not fully vaccinated and virus variants continue to spread in those who are unprotected.

The best way to protect yourself and others is by getting vaccinated.

Vaccination Trends

COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available for anyone over the age of 12 at health care providers, pharmacies, and through community partnerships. More than 336 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. Scientists are still studying how long natural and vaccine immunity lasts.

Much like other viruses such as the flu, COVID-19 may continue to linger for years to come. That makes being vaccinated even more important as it offers you the best chance to fight off potential future infections.

Cases & Hospitalizations

Public health officials are concerned with rising cases in those who are not fully vaccinated, including children and younger adults. People who are 18 to 29 have had the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. People 39 and under have accounted for more total cases per 100,000 than those 40 and older.

Nearly all COVID-19 hospitalizations in 2021 have occurred in people who are not fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 Variants

Viruses naturally mutate when spreading via community transmission. Some variants die out while others become more transmissible. According to the CDC, there are currently four COVID-19 variants being monitored in the U.S.  

The most prevalent strain currently in the U.S. is the Alpha variant. Another variant, known as Delta, has spread to more than 60 countries around the world. The Delta variant is more transmissible than the original and Alpha strains.

From June 6 to June 19, the Delta Variant accounted for approximately 31% of new COVID-19 cases.

Public health officials expect the Delta variant to become the dominant strain in the U.S. Experts say the variant could lead to new COVID surges in unvaccinated populations.

The good news is research shows that the available vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization from these new strains. Scientists and public health experts will continue to monitor these strains and vaccine efficacy in real time.

Stay Vigilant

Unvaccinated people should continue to take precautions including wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding crowds.

Fully vaccinated people can take part in pre-pandemic activities without a mask or social distancing. However, they should get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and should avoid visiting private and public settings if they have tested positive in the prior 10 days.

For guidance about your individual health concerns related to the COVID-19 vaccines, please reach out to your primary care physicians.

 

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