Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department (LCHD) on Friday said unvaccinated county residents should get their shot in the arm to protect them from the rapidly spreading delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
“The virus is staging a comeback,” Goodfriend told the Times-Mirror.
“Vaccination is highly effective against the delta variant [and] extremely effective against serious infection with the delta variant or other variants,” he said.
New COVID-19 case numbers have climbed across the country in recent weeks as the delta variant has continued to spread.
Loudoun County on Friday averaged 11 new COVID cases per day, a 14-day increase of 217%, according to data accrued by The New York Times. Virginia’s daily average case count on Thursday was 28,315, a 14-day increase of 121%.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recently launched an online “Cases by Vaccination Status” dashboard, as reported Thursday by WRIC.
VDH reports that 0.026% of fully vaccinated people in Virginia have developed COVID after becoming inoculated, phenomena known as breakthrough cases.
“The likelihood that [fully vaccinated people] get hospitalized or die from COVID is extremely low,” Goodfriend said of vaccinated individuals.
According to VDH, nearly 57% of Loudoun County residents are fully vaccinated as of Friday, including 70.6% of the adult population.
First detected in India in December 2020, the delta variant of the novel coronavirus is far more contagious than the original strain, according to Yale Medicine.
Goodfriend said the delta variant has been detected in Loudoun County.
LCHD does not have an estimate on how many cases have surfaced in the county because not all COVID test samples are monitored for the variant and not all people infected with the variant will end up getting tested.
“It’s expected at this time that [the Delta variant] now represents the majority of cases in northern Virginia,” he said. “That’s just because it’s so contagious.”
Pfizer, a major COVID vaccine provider, announced on July 8 that its vaccine booster shot under development could further protect recipients from “all currently known variants” of the virus, according to CBS News.
However, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jointly announced the same day that fully vaccinated Americans “do not need a booster shot at this time,” and that current vaccine formulations are already “highly effective” against all currently circulating variants.
Though acknowledging that breakthrough cases do occur and the vaccine is “not perfect,” Goodfriend maintained that the vaccine is the “No. 1 best way to stay safe” from the virus.
“Hanging around people who are fully vaccinated only decreases your chances of picking it up,” he said. “When you’re sick, stay home.”