Infectious disease experts urge people to get vaccine as delta variant of COVID-19 spreads in Colorado

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Our nation’s leading health experts are concerned about a variant of COVID-19 that is spreading rapidly in certain parts of the country.

The delta variant, which was first identified in India, made its first appearance in Colorado back in May. It’s been spreading rapidly across our state ever since. Officials with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment say the variant now makes up 40 percent of the cases that are identified here in Colorado.

What does that mean for people who are fully vaccinated? The Problem Solvers talked to an infectious disease doctor to find out. She says the vaccines are helping slow the spread for now.

“We are seeing a little bit of an impact to vaccine effectiveness with this delta variant,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy said on Monday. “So, with the Pfizer data that we have seen coming out of the United Kingdom, we are estimating that it decreases probably from about 93 percent with the Pfizer vaccine against the alpha variant, down to about 88 percent with the delta variant.”

If you have plans to travel for the July 4th holiday, experts say you shouldn’t worry about getting infected as long as you’re vaccinated.

“I haven’t seen any data showing that people that have been fully vaccinated have to change their behavior in anyway,” said Dr. Jim Neid, the Director of Infection Prevention for the Medical Center of Aurora. “I think the risk is the unvaccinated population.”

Dr. Neid says there’s one solution to stop the variant from spreading any further, continue encouraging other people to get vaccinated and make sure you’re up to date on your own vaccine.

“The biology of this virus will continue to mutate to where it can survive in the population and the unvaccinated population will allow it to continue to mutate and we’ll continue to talk about the next Greek letter in the alphabet when the next strain rolls around,” said Neid.

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