Ask A Doctor: How Much More Transmissible Is The Delta Variant?

Vaccine makers hope to conclude vaccine trials for children under 12 by this fall.

By Michael MarksAugust 9, 2021 9:02 pm,

Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Fred Campbell has provided us answers to questions about the pandemic. He’s a doctor of internal medicine and an associate professor at the Long School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

This week, we asked Dr. Campbell about the risk that the delta variant poses to children.

How much more of a threat the delta variant is for kids than previous forms of Covid-19?

Experts are saying that the delta variant has the contagious potential of chicken pox, so that is one of the most infectious agents in the world. And so there is a higher risk of acquiring COVID-19 with the delta variant.

Why aren’t kids under 12 able to get vaccinated and when might that change?

Vaccine makers at the present time are studying the safety of their vaccines in children under 12. In clinical trials, it appears that that may be completed and information be available by early fall.

We know that the delta variant is more contagious and we’ve seen hospitalization rates rise again. But what about severity? Are most cases of COVID still mild at this point?

What we do know about the delta variant at this point is that it is still susceptible to our current vaccines and so the vaccinated population to a great extent are able to escape serious infection, death from it. On the other hand, because of the fact that it’s so contagious, unvaccinated individuals and also people at very high risk because of chronic illness or their age can develop a serious or even life-threatening infections. And that’s where we’re seeing the vast majority of those cases at the present time.

There are now a number of at-home tests for COVID-19 that one can buy. Do you have a sense of how effective they are?

Home tests are effective, however, there is a significant incidence of both for false positives and false negative results.

It’s important that people who are using those tests be aware that they could still have COVID without positive testing. And it’s important to check with a health professional about symptoms and whether or not it’s important to be evaluated regardless of the results.

If you have a question you’d like Dr. Campbell to answer, you can submit it here.

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