“If we take too long to get vaccinated, we are going to prolong the pandemic.”
The highly contagious delta variant of the COVID-19 virus now accounts for the majority of COVID-19 infections and is fueling a nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. This is especially true in Florida. Some counties in Millennium’s service areas have been particularly impacted, including Nassau, Duval, Alachua, Marion, Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota.
The CDC has described the delta variant as being as transmissible as chickenpox and cautioned it could cause severe disease. “It’s extremely important to understand that how fast we get vaccinated is just as important as the percentage of vaccinated people in the community,” clarifies Millennium Physician Group Chief Medical Officer Alejandro Perez-Trepechio, M.D. “If we take too long to get vaccinated, we are going to prolong the pandemic.”
Face Masks Recommended
Citing new science on the transmissibility of the delta variant, the CDC is now recommending that even fully-vaccinated people wear masks indoors in places where transmission of the virus is sustained or high. All Millennium offices still require all staff and patients to wear masks.
Vaccinations the Best Defense
“Vaccines are one of the most important tools to prevent and mitigate the spread and transmission of COVID-19,” says Dr. Perez-Trepechio. “The delta variant is spreading very rapidly, and that means those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated need to be extra careful.”
MPG has a small inventory of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines, which we will administer until inventory is depleted, or the expiration date 9/15/21, whichever occurs first. The vaccine is available in limited quantities to patients through a select number of our COVID-19 vaccine sites. MPG locations administering the J&J vaccine can be viewed here. You should contact the vaccine site of your choice directly to schedule your shot.
If you’re interested in receiving the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your local health department for more information. For the list of statewide vaccination sites, click here.
Children at Increased Risk
Health officials report that delta has become by far the most dominant variant among children. “COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been authorized for children younger than 12,” reminds Dr. Perez-Trepichio. “We need to do our very best to protect this age group by continuing all the recommended mitigation measures, including getting vaccinated.” The FDA has said that emergency use authorization of vaccines for children may not come until midwinter.
Vaccinations Picking Up
According to the latest CDC data, the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. has risen over the past several weeks, but currently, only 58 percent of eligible Americans ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 53 percent of Floridians are fully vaccinated. “The longer it takes to achieve appropriate vaccination rates, the risk of even more variants evolving increases,” warns Dr. Perez-Trepichio. “Every mutation that we allow to successfully emerge could result in a lesser vaccine effectiveness.”