State’s vaccine coordinator: Delta variant is spreading, gives look into what school may look like in the fall

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) – Virginia hit the benchmark for vaccinations earlier this week, but the state’s vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, says there is still more work to be done.

On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam reported 70% of adults in Virginia have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but there are segments of the Commonwealth still reporting a 30% or 40% vaccination rate.

It comes as the delta variant is already starting to spread.

Related coverage: Northam: 70% of Virginia adults have at least one vaccine dose, meeting Biden’s goal early

“At the end of May the Delta variant was about 2% of our new infections and as of last week it was 10% and I think it’s going to be much more than that,” Avula told our sister station, WAVY.

The good news is that those fully vaccinated don’t need to worry. Luckily, he said the vaccine appears to be working against that variant and others that have emerged so far.

“So far, I think we’ve been lucky,” Avula said. “These variants like the U-K variant, the alpha the delta, that have really emerged in different countries – our vaccines have been incredibly effective against them.”

So, what about the rest of the population who hasn’t gotten the shot?

“What that means is that kids who are not vaccinated will likely at some point be vectors – the will spread this new variant widely,” Avula stated.

Related coverage: Virginia Department of Health adds Delta variant to dashboard; 41 cases currently in the state

The concern then becomes spreading the virus to unvaccinated adults.

“So, for segments in our community like in Southern or Southwest Virginia where the adult vaccination rate is about 40% that means that kids will contribute to the spread of disease – if we’re not careful,” he said.

Avula says officials are also tracking the data to see if boosters will be a possibility.

“We are still following that very closely that aren’t many boosters that are currently available manufacturers are working on that now,” he explained.

He also spoke on vaccines for kids. Dr. Avula expects a vaccine for children younger than 12 will be ready in late fall, possibly by October, but not before school starts. Until then, he said the mask protocol will remain.

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