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FAQs: Delta Variant of COVID-19

Earlier this week, we announced the arrival of a limited supply of the Pfizer vaccine for our patients 12-17 years old who were not eligible to receive the Moderna vaccine due to age. We are also offering this vaccine for those adults who would prefer to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

With recent news reports about the Delta Variant of COVID-19 being the prominent strain, we wanted to answer a few commonly asked questions (see below). Vaccination is the best protection against Delta, so we would like to encourage all of our eligible patients who do not have a contraindication to get vaccinated, whether with us, or at another site. To make an appointment to get a vaccine with Middleton Family Medicine, please call 978-774-2555.

What is a variant?

Viruses are smart, and they change regularly. A variant is a form of the original virus with changes to its characteristics. These changes can make the virus smarter and less likely to respond to treatment or vaccine.

What’s the big deal with the Delta Variant?

The Delta Variant is more contagious than other variants, and is spreading faster. Unvaccinated people are the most at risk. Based on one study from the United Kingdom, who is about a month ahead of the US with the Delta Variant, the unvaccinated are twice as likely to require hospitalization with the Delta Variant than they were with prior strains of COVID-19. Studies are ongoing and this information may change.

Are the symptoms the same?

Reports from the UK show that cough and loss of smell are not as common, but fever, runny nose, sore throat and headache are common. If you are feeling unwell in any way, please contact us to review your symptoms and see if COVID-19 testing is indicated.

I am double vaccinated, so I don’t have to worry, right?

You are much less at risk to get COVID-19 than someone who is unvaccinated, and studies are being done to see what the risk of a breakthrough infection is. Pfizer has released data to show that it is 88% effective in prevention of symptomatic disease, and 96% effective in preventing hospitalization from Delta. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have announced their vaccines are effective as well, but the official data is waiting on peer reviewed studies. Therefore we strongly recommend you get a COVID-19 vaccination to lower your risk from this dangerous virus for your safety and others. We want to help you stay healthy in any way we can.

Do I need a booster shot?

No, not yet. Studies are ongoing to see if and when this will be needed, but for now, there is not a booster vaccine available.


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