With COVID-19 numbers trending upwards again in British Columbia, and a high percentage of those cases (as much as 95%, according to a new report from the BC CDC) now being the highly contagious and more transmissible Delta variant – particularly among those who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated – below are some answers to British Columbians most pressing questions.
“Is the Delta variant more contagious than previous variants of COVID-19?”
Yes, the Delta variant is nearly twice as contagious as previous variants of COVID-19. Furthermore, studies conducted in Canada and Scotland found that patients who were infected with the Delta variant were much more likely to be hospitalized than those infected with the original strain of the virus or other variants.
“Who’s most at risk of contracting the Delta variant?”
Individuals most at risk of contracting the Delta variant are those who remain unvaccinated, or those who have only received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In effort to increase the number of those who are fully vaccinated in our Province, the British Columbia government announced their #VaxForBC campaign – as well as announced a reduction in intervals between dose one and dose two (from 49 days to 28 days.)
“Am I still at risk of contracting COVID-19, or the Delta variant, if I am fully vaccinated?”
While the risk is lower for those who are fully vaccinated, it is still possible for fully vaccinated individuals to contract COVID-19 – including the highly contagious Delta variant – as vaccines are not considered 100% effective. In addition, it is also possible for fully vaccinated individuals to develop COVID-19, be asymptomatic, but pass it on to those who are not yet vaccinated or only partially vaccinated, which could result in those individuals developing severe illness.
“If I am fully vaccinated, what precautions should I still be taking to prevent contracting or spreading the Delta variant?”
While the mask mandate in British Columbia was recently lifted, it’s still recommended that individuals wear masks in most situations – such as in healthcare facilities or in other shared public spaces (i.e., shopping malls, on transit), working remote where necessary, as well as practicing good hand hygiene and physical distancing. In addition to getting vaccinated, these additional layers of protection are what will continue to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Will I need a third COVID-19 vaccine?”
Countries like Germany and France plan on rolling out booster vaccines for those considered most vulnerable in September, while the United States and Canada are preparing for the possibility of additional doses – although this is in early discussions and has yet to be confirmed.