Everyone loves the party game/icebreaker “two truths and a lie.” Can you identify which of the following is NOT true about the COVID-19 variants?
A. The vaccines do not protect against the COVID-19 Delta variant.
B. More kids than ever are getting COVID-19 because of the Delta variant.
C. The Delta variant is more contagious than the Alpha variant.
Let’s take these statements one at a time:
A. Lie. After full vaccination, the Pfizer vaccine is 93 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 virus caused by the original Alpha variant. It is 88 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 virus caused by the Delta variant. Of those who do contract the Delta variant after vaccination, 96 percent won’t experience severe symptoms.
The Moderna vaccine is 94.1 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection caused by the original Alpha variant. It is 72 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 virus caused by the Delta variant. One dose of the Moderna vaccine is 96 percent effective at preventing severe symptoms of COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant.
While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 72 percent effective against the Alpha variant of Covid-19, it is 100 percent efficacious against hospitalization and death. Studies are ongoing to determine its effectiveness rate against the Delta variant but the J&J vaccine is 85 percent effective at preventing severe symptoms from the COVID-19 virus caused by the Delta variant.
B. Partially True. The Delta variant is more easily transmissible, so we should expect to see an increase in the number of infections among children who cannot yet be vaccinated. But, for now, rates of infection among children are lower than they were in December 2020 and January 2021.
C. True. According to the CDC, the Delta variant appears to be more contagious. Some studies suggest that the Delta variant may cause more severe symptoms than all other known versions of the virus in individuals who remain unvaccinated. According to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against serious symptoms from the current variants, and it is unvaccinated individuals who account for the overwhelming majority of new hospitalizations and deaths. The Associated Press, which analyzed available government data, confirmed Gottlieb’s statement, saying that“ ‘breakthrough’ infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 1.1%.”