Have questions? Get answers – Delta variant, masking and vaccines

Have questions? Get answers – Delta variant, masking and vaccines

With the Delta variant, we are once again seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases in Ohio, nationally and globally. The Delta variant is twice as transmissible as the original COVID-19 strain. Caregivers at all U.S. locations (both clinical and administrative) must continue to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

Below are several frequently asked questions and answers for caregivers and patients. You can view and print the COVID-19 vaccine FAQ and the COVID-19 FAQ on the intranet.

Whether or not you have been vaccinated, call the Caregiver COVID-19 Hotline at 216.445.8246 if you have symptoms or may have been exposed.

Q: Which symptoms are most common for individuals infected with the Delta variant?

A: If symptomatic, most individuals who are vaccinated will experience mild symptoms very similar to hay fever or a cold-like illness.

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective against the Delta variant?

A: Many of the increasing cases and hospitalizations in Ohio and across the country are attributable to the Delta variant, which is twice as transmissible as the original COVID-19 strain. Completing the COVID-19 vaccination series continues to be the best protection against severe illness or death for all COVID-19 strains, including the Delta variant.

Q: Do I need to continue masking and social distancing after getting the vaccine?

A: The CDC has issued guidance on public health recommendations for those who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series (such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The guidance states that in order to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Those who are not yet vaccinated should continue to mask as well.

Wearing a mask is especially important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.

It’s important to note that this guidance does not apply to healthcare settings, and our current masking policies remain in place. All patients, visitors and caregivers at Cleveland Clinic will still be screened and required to wear a face mask in our facilities, even if they are fully vaccinated.

Q: Can I still get COVID-19 even if I am vaccinated?

A: While the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, no vaccines are 100% effective. In fact, breakthrough cases (when someone tests positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they’re fully vaccinated) are expected. Breakthrough infections are more common in indoor settings with large groups of people, the elderly and in individuals with compromised immune systems. 

The vaccines greatly reduce the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Despite the presence of breakthrough infections, the far majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths occur in unvaccinated individuals. We recommend everyone who is eligible receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Update on boosters – third mRNA COVID-19 dose for immune suppressed approved

Update on boosters – third mRNA COVID-19 dose for immune suppressed approved

On Friday, Aug. 13, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and issued guidance recommending a booster dose for certain patients with compromised or suppressed immune systems who received their first two doses of an mRNA COVID vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines).

Studies have shown a third dose is safe and can provide added protection from severe illness or death from COVID-19 in individuals who may have a weakened response due to certain medical conditions or medications. 

We plan to begin providing booster vaccinations to eligible patients within the next week. At this time, we are awaiting additional guidance from federal and state agencies and are working out the details of our booster program. We will continue to provide updates as details become available.

At this time, additional doses of COVID vaccines are not recommended for healthy individuals who are not immunocompromised, and no additional dose has been recommended following the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine.

Updated FDA Fact Sheets

  • Pfizer is approved under an Emergency Use Authorization in individuals 12 years of age and older
  • Moderna is approved under an Emergency Use Authorization in individuals 18 years of age and older

If caregivers have questions related to their own care or that of a family member, we encourage you to reach out to your provider to discuss.

Call our Caregiver COVID-19 Hotline if you have symptoms or may have been exposed.

  • Ohio: 216.445.8246
  • Florida: 800.546.4149