DENVER (CBS4) – As the delta variant spreads, fully-vaccinated people are wondering what else they can do to stay safe. More than 100,000 Coloradans are behind on their second dose of their COVID-19 vaccinations, but many are already thinking about their third.
Tegan McRoberts got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as soon she was eligible. As cases rise, she contacted CBS4 with a question many have regarding boosters.
“I haven’t heard anything on the news yet about a booster shot for Johnson & Johnson. That makes me nervous because we only have the one shot,” said McRoberts.
Fully-vaccinated people are still susceptible to COVID, but the effects are less severe.
When it comes to a booster shot, Denver Health notes the makeup of J&J isn’t the same as its counterparts.
“The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a different type of technology than the Pfizer and Moderna, so boosters really shouldn’t be required,” explained Dr. Connie Price at Denver Health. “I haven’t heard as much discussion about a booster for that vaccine. I have heard a lot with Pfizer and Modernaand that may be coming. They can adjust the vaccine just a little bit to be more effective against these variants or produce a stronger immune response to overcome what is emerging.”
The new surge in cases is leading hospitals like Denver Health to require its employees to get vaccinated. Right now, about 80% of Denver Health employees are vaccinated. Unless they have a medical or religious exemption, unvaccinated employees will be subject to termination if they’re not vaccinated by November.
“This decision was not made lightly. But in the end, when we reviewed the data from all of the professional societies, the scientific leaders in this field, and the abundant data on the vaccines given to date in terms of efficacy and safety, we landed at the decision to require this by Nov. 1,” said Price. “So far, the feedback has been very positive among our staff.”
The CDC has suggested mask-wearing once again in areas with rising cases and low vaccination rates. Major cities like Los Angeles and Miami have already reinstated mask mandates. Many Coloradans are beginning to wear masks again out of an abundance of caution, but Price says she doesn’t feel the need to — yet.
“I’m in Denver and we have some of the highest vaccination rates in our state. We’re not seeing increased hospitalization rates in Denver, and I think it’s because we are so highly vaccinated,” said Price. “”So unless there were a mandate, I would not personally feel the need to do that unless there were somebody who I was encountering who is unvaccinated or a patient or somebody who is at risk.”