COVID-19 Q&A: Part 14

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“What makes the Delta variant of COVID-19 more transmissible?”
The viral load is roughly 1,000 times higher in those who contract this particular variant of COVID-19, making it twice as contagious as other variants. According to a study published in this summer, it was found that the Delta variant grows much more rapidly – and at higher levels – in people’s respiratory tracts, resulting in higher rates of illness and hospitalization. Furthermore, individuals who contract the Delta variant are infectious much sooner compared to the original strain of the virus.

“Who’s most at risk of contracting the Delta variant?”
Individuals who are not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated are most at risk of contracting not just the Delta variant, but any variant of COVID-19. In addition to all of our other layers of protection, getting vaccinated is the number one thing you can do to protect yourself and others from this virus. While vaccines aren’t 100% effective, you are much less likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, and less likely to pass it on to others.

“If I am fully vaccinated, do I need to continue to wear a mask?”
As of August 25th, 2021, masks are required to be worn in all indoor public places. This includes malls/shopping centres, coffee shops, grocery and other retail stores, drug stores, airports, libraries, recreation centres, restaurants, and on public transportation. You can find a full list of places where masks are required by clicking here. This mask mandate applies regardless of vaccine status; however, individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to certain health, psychological, or behavioural conditions or have a physical, cognitive or mental impairment are exempt. You may also remove a mask temporarily indoors if you are eating or drinking.

“How can I get my child to keep their mask on?”
With younger children, there may be some challenges in getting them to keep their masks on. To help a child feel more comfortable about wearing a mask, try considering the type of mask they wear – such as the design. They may be more inclined to want to wear a mask if it’s their favourite colour, or has a print of their favourite cartoon character. Parents can also talk to children about the importance of mask wearing, as well as model mask wearing at home and in public. If a mask is uncomfortable for a child, things like face mask extenders or ear savers can also be helpful.

“When can kids under 12¬†get vaccinated? How would a vaccine for a child differ?”
Currently, children under the age of 12 are not able to get vaccinated in Canada. However, in a recent briefing, Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that those in the below 12 age-group may be able to get vaccinated by the end of October dependent on review of data by Health Canada. As for how the vaccine differs for younger children, it is a smaller dose – 10 micrograms (rather than 30) of the antigen (molecules that are capable of stimulating an immune response.)

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