Delta variant of COVID-19 proving to be more contagious and is already in NC

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While the rate of people being vaccinated against COVID-19 is not where health officials want it to be, CBS 17 did find a steady stream of people getting a shot at Wake County’s clinic on Departure Drive in Raleigh.

Some recipients were adults but parents like Fidel Nunez were also there so their kids could receive the shot.

“I think it’s a good reason for everybody to get vaccinated because of public health, especially for children,” he said after his 12-year-old son was inoculated.

Nunez said everyone should do their part to protect others.

Vaccinations also slow the development of new variants like the Delta variant which is now the primary infection in the UK that originated in India.

“If it has a Greek name like Delta that means it’s a variant of concern. It’s a variant that runs much quicker through the population than the others,” said Prof. Dirk Dittmer.

Dittmer teaches microbiology and immunology at UNC School of Medicine.

His team studies the genetic sequence of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Dittmer said the Delta variant is already in North Carolina.

“It’s in the state, it will be more infectious and it will attack people who are not vaccinated,” he said.

While not fully studied, doctors in India have reported some patients infected with the Delta variant suffered blood clots that led to gangrene and amputations.

After the first dose, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine can be as much as 85 percent effective.

But with the much more contagious Delta, the first dose is only about 50 percent effective.

“With this particular variant, even people who only get the first dose are still at 50 percent risk of getting infected. So you really want both doses of the vaccine to escape this variant,” said Dittmer.

This new variant is one more reason parents said they have to stay on top of it including any booster that may be on the horizon.

Heath McPherson is traveling soon with his twin daughters and brought them to Distribution Drive to be vaccinated.

“The difficult thing about dealing with mass infections is the virulence of it changes so dramatically. So I agree, it’s something we have to keep an eye on even after they get the shots,” he said.

Health officials remind everyone that there is plenty of vaccine available and that many clinics no longer require an appointment.

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