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Fact Check Friday: Is the COVID-19 delta variant real?

Virus Outbreak Variant
Posted at 6:23 AM, Jul 16, 2021

Posts are floating around on social media questioning if COVID-19 variants, like the most recent, delta variant, are real. Some memes on Facebook and Instagram are calling it "fake news" or claiming it is part of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Delta is a real threat to the unvaccinated or those who are not yet fully vaccinated," Ohio Department of Health chief medical officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said. "Delta is highly contagious, and it spreads exponentially fast almost anywhere it has gone."

The delta variant is the dominant strain of COVID-19 across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, representatives from Pfizer met with the Food and Drug Administration about approving a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. Pfizer officials said data shows the company's current two-dose COVID-19 vaccine isn't as effective against the delta variant, but it is still good.

"Sixty-four percent is still good," Dr. Steve Feagins said. "It's way better than the influenza vaccine. The intent of that report is to show that this thing still works, not that it doesn't."

Moderna released a report in June which said its vaccine was effective against several strains of COVID-19, including the delta variant.

"These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants," Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said.

Johnson & Johnson also reported their vaccine was effective against COVID-19 variant strains. However, the company's top researcher said more studies are needed.

The delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading across Ohio, and Vanderhoff said it is picking up speed.

"The reality is we now have two Ohios," Vanderhoff said. "An Ohio that is vaccinated and protected on the one hand, and an Ohio that is unvaccinated and vulnerable to delta on the other."