While the Coast Guard makes continued progress with its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and approaches the goal of vaccinating 70% of our workforce by July 4, it is important to remain vigilant to the evolving threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have classified the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus as a variant of concern (VOC). This means there is evidence that the Delta variant is transmitted more easily and creates more severe COVID symptoms that can lead to increased hospitalizations or deaths.
What you need to know
According to the CDC, it is normal for viruses to change through mutation. To classify a variant from the virus, a variant strain will “have one or more mutations that differentiate it from other variants in circulation.”
In the United Kingdom, the Delta variant is rapidly becoming the dominant variant, and the transmission is peaking in 12 to 20-year-olds. According to the CDC, the Delta variant was first detected in the United States in March 2021, and now may account for up to twenty percent of the sequenced cases here.
What you should do
Current data suggests that the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States offer protection against most variants, including the Delta variant. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the virus, including the Delta variant, is to get fully vaccinated. If you have received your first dose of Pfizer or Moderna, make sure you receive your second dose. Two weeks following your one dose of J&J or your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, you are considered fully vaccinated.
All members of the Coast Guard family must take every opportunity to inform themselves, their shipmates, and their families about the vaccines. It is critical that hesitant service members have the ability to access up-to-date resources, ask questions, and build confidence in the decision to get vaccinated. The resources below provide a wealth of information regarding vaccine development and safety, which will help ensure a fully informed vaccination decision.