Health experts expect the Delta variant of coronavirus to become dominant in Alabama in the next few months.
Right now, the original COVID-19 strain remains dominant in Alabama despite all other variants that have been identified in the state. However, health experts believe that will soon change.
There are two main concerns health experts have about the Delta variant that was first found in India.
First, it's the most transmissible variant yet meaning more infections. Second, it's somewhat vaccine resistant. Health experts say the vaccines still work and the best way to fight these variants is to roll up your sleeve and get the shot.
"I think if you're vaccinated, you should be happy that these vaccines are still working. If you're not vaccinated, that's another story," Director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic Dr. Paul Goepfert said.
He helped develop the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and says people should not hesitate.
"I know, I don't just think, that these vaccines are the best vaccines we have developed for adults ever," Goepfert said.
However, only around 30% of the population in Alabama is fully vaccinated. Health experts worry it could lead to more people getting sick because of the variants.
"So what you have now, is a virus that sees this immune system that it wants to get around," Goepfert explained. "It's going to learn to mutate to get around the vaccine induced response. I should caution to say that we have not seen that variant yet, and I hope we never do but the best way to never see that variant is to get everybody vaccinated."
Goepfert says the same applies to people who've been infected with COVID-19.
"There are data that people who got infected with the original strain despite them getting infected with that. They have no protection," he said.
Dr. Goepfert urges everyone to get the vaccine.
"Even if you yourself don't think you're at risk, you are protecting others and you are protecting the spread of this pandemic, and in my mind it's your patriotic duty to get vaccinated," Goepfert said.
At this time, there is no variant that is completely immune to the coronavirus vaccine. Studies show all vaccines are still up to 80% effective against all variants.