You Asked, We Answered: What do I need to know about the Delta variant of COVID-19?

I’ve heard about a new “Delta variant” of the virus that causes COVID-19. Is it dangerous?

The Delta variant is a mutation of the virus that causes COVID-19. This variant spreads more easily and more quickly than others. It already has had a severe impact in other countries, such as India. Over the past month, the Delta variant has rapidly spread and expanded in the U.S. It could soon become the dominant virus strain.

The good news is that the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the U.S. offer good protection against the COVID-19 variants we know most about. COVID-19 vaccines have shown excellent effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations and death. This includes the Delta strain.

The Delta variant most severely impacts those people not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes people who only received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series, such as Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

How can I protect myself against the Delta variant?

You can best protect yourself against the Delta variant by becoming fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are continuing to study the Delta variant. They have concluded that COVID-19 vaccines offer good protection against COVID-19 variants.

Those who receive two-dose vaccines will be fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive their second dose. Two-dose vaccines include the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Those who receive single-dose vaccines like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine will be fully vaccinated two weeks after their dose.

VA will provide the second doses to employees, Veterans or anyone who qualifies under the Save Lives Act–such as spouses and caregivers– no matter where they received their first dose, if that is more convenient.

Will other variants like the Delta variant continue to spread in the future?

Viruses such as the Delta variant continue to mutate and spread as long as they have the ability to do so. The most effective means of slowing and stopping the spread of these variants is vaccination. When a large percentage of a community is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the virus will not be able to spread within it. This will also serve to decrease the development of new variants. Fully vaccinated people protect both themselves and their community against COVID-19 and similar variants.

Learn more

If you are undecided about getting the vaccine and need more information to make a decision, check out our Vaccine Questions page. The page includes videos, downloadable information and frequently asked questions.

From VAntage Point, the Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs