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Shelby County Health Department urges vaccinations to protect against COVID-19 Delta variant

"The unvaccinated are the most at-risk for serious illness from the Delta variant," said Dr. Bruce Randolph.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department is urging anyone who has not already been vaccinated for COVID-19 to get the shot in order to protect against the Delta variant.

From the health department: 

COVID-19 vaccination provides valuable protection against the Delta variant. Among the identified Delta variant cases and suspect cases, less than 10 percent are vaccine breakthrough cases, meaning that the person was fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In breakthrough cases, fully vaccinated individuals experience much milder symptoms and fewer severe risks. For that reason, Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph strongly recommends that all Shelby County residents become fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus as soon as possible.

As a part of its COVID-19 surveillance, Shelby County Health Department continues to monitor for COVID-19 variant cases, including the Delta variant, known to be 50-60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant which was 50-60 percent more transmissible than the original strain of COVID-19.

The following evidence points to increased Delta variant activity in Shelby County:

  • The 7-day COVID-19 case average has more than doubled in the last six days, increasing from 26 on July 1, 2021 to 59 on July 6, 2021.
  • The reproductive rate of the virus (Rt) is currently 1.22, the highest it has been since June 25, 2020.
  • The 7-day average positivity rate is now 4.5%, increasing from 2.9% on July 1st.
  • A total of 58 Delta variant cases have been identified in Shelby County as of July 7, 2021, while another 26 cases are suspected to be Delta variant cases. SCHD has projected that the Delta variant could become the dominant strain in Shelby County by the end of July.

Dr. Bruce Randolph: “All of the COVID-19 vaccines that have received emergency use authorization in the United States, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson, provide a high degree of protection against the Delta variant, as well as the other COVID-19 strains. Even the so-called ‘breakthrough cases,’ that have occurred in fully-vaccinated individuals are usually mild and rarely require hospitalization. The unvaccinated are the most at-risk for serious illness from the Delta variant.”

COVID-19 vaccination is free and widely available at pharmacies, clinics, and public vaccination sites. The full list of vaccination sites is available at https://covid19.memphistn.gov/. The Health Department will also offer COVID-19 vaccinations to adults and children 12 and older at 814 Jefferson Avenue on Saturday, July 10 and Saturday, July 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Shelby County Health Department continues to work diligently to rapidly investigate COVID-19 cases, identify contacts and place them in isolation/quarantine, while encouraging them to be tested.

Our COVID-19 outreach teams continue to provide education and guidance to encourage vaccination, testing, social distancing, masking, etc., as appropriate. For more information about the Health Department’s COVID-19 response, please visit our COVID-19 webpage: https://www.shelby.community/.