SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Delta variant is spreading quicker than any other COVID strain.
Local health officials say it’s causing them to rethink their vaccination plan.
It’s no secret that vaccine demand has declined in the past couple of months.
However, the introduction and now spread of the Delta variant has the Salt Lake County Health Department picking up its vaccine efforts.
“We have seen demand drop off quite a bit,” said Salt Lake County Health Department spokesperson Gabe Moreno.
The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases is around 385. A month ago that number was closer to 200.
The Utah Department of Health predicts by the end of August that the seven-day average of Covid-19 cases could range from 1,000 to 1,200.
“One thing we are keeping an eye on right now is the Delta variant,” said Moreno. “We are watching that very closely.”
The Delta variant is adding new urgency to the drive to get more shots in arms and slow its quick spread.
“We are clearly in the middle of a spike in cases and it is really sad to see and entirely avoidable,” said Dr. Michelle Hofmann. “It’s no secret who is driving this surge in cases and hospitalizations. It is unvaccinated people.”
Health officials said unvaccinated people are more susceptible to getting diagnosed with COVID’s Delta variant than those who are vaccinated.
So now, the Salt Lake County Health Department is working harder to reach the areas of low vaccinations.
A problem they are running into however is making sure people come back for their second dose.
“This strain thrives in unmitigated environments so in areas where the majority of people are unvaccinated,” said Moreno.
The data shows 9.8% of people in Salt Lake County that are more than six weeks out from the first dose have not received their second dose.
Moreno said that’s because of lack of transportation and fear of the side effects.
“At the end of the day, vaccination is the answer to all the challenges,” said Hofmann.
It’s a blunt message from the Utah Department of Health.
The state has an abundance of vaccines available, but not enough people are lined up to get one.
“So please, it is critical you get vaccinated,” said Moreno.
The World Health Organization has warned a mix of the Delta variant, unvaccinated communities, and maskless communities will cause a delay to the end of the pandemic.