RICHMOND, VA. (WRIC) — The Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading in Virginia — and it’s concerning the state’s department of health. The state recently upgraded Delta to a “variant of concern.”

According to VDH, a “variant of concern” could mean any of the following:

  • Spreads more easily
  • Might cause more severe illness
  • Could escape the immune protection provided by available COVID-19 vaccines or by natural infection with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Could make viral tests less accurate
  • Might make some treatments less effective

Local officials are trying new strategies to make the vaccine easier to get.

The state’s vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, said at the end of May, the variant accounted for 2 percent of new infections. Now that number is more like 10 percent and growing, according to Avula.

“We’re certainly concerned about it on the local level,” said Cat Long, with Richmond’s health district. Local experts are even more motivated to make shots accessible to everyone. “The popping up of variants is something that makes us eager to make sure that everyone has access to a vaccine,” Long said.

Right now, experts say that fully vaccinated people don’t need to worry about the Delta variant.

City health leaders are tackling the east end of Richmond with “Street to Street” vaccine efforts. On Friday, a team of nurses will walk neighborhood to neighborhood, knocking on doors while offering the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to people still unvaccinated.

Long said data shows them some neighborhoods in the East end were hit hard by COVID-19 and have low vaccination numbers.

“We’re seeing this racial disparity as well, where black Americans are undervaccinated in comparison to their white and Latino peers locally in Richmond,” Long said. “We want to make it as difficult as possible for someone to miss us.”

Long told 8News the nurses will be answering questions and educating folks who still have questions about the vaccines.

“We really value making sure everybody has access to talking to a real-life person and not relying on googling things,” she said.

On Friday, June 25 vaccines will be offered at several locations in the East end:

  • 11:00am-1:00pm: Patrick Henry Park (E Broad St and N 25th St)
  • 1:00pm-3:00pm: East End Library (1200 N 25th  in various communities)
  • 1:00pm-5:00pm: Vaccinations provided by Hope Pharmacy (1330 N 25th St)
  • 3:00pm-4:00pm: Door to door vaccinations for local businesses (25th St)
  • 3:00pm-5:00pm: RHHD`s Family Transition Coach office (1111 N 25th St)

Long said the health district plans to visit northside Richmond and southside Richmond next.