LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Doctors and epidemiologists are closely monitoring the rise of the Deltavariant.
Also known as B.1.617.2, the variant was first discovered in India, and has become infamous for its ability to quickly replicate.
Now as more people have been vaccinated, officials are discussing whether or not the only FDA-approved one-shot vaccine by Johnson & Johnson will need to have a booster shot to protect from the Delta variant.
Dr. Angelique Campen is among the health experts that are debating whether people who received the J&J vaccine need to get a second dose — this time with the Pfizer or Moderna shot — to get adequate protection from the variant fueling a new rise in COVID cases nationwide.
“I’ll tell you anecdotally what I’m seeing the emergency after a number of weeks of no coronavirus patients. I’m starting to see more coronavirus illnesses trickle in,” Campen said. “I do know of colleagues that have gotten the booster shots.”
Campen, an ER doctor at Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, tells CBS Los Angeles that she and her colleagues across the country are noticing a trend.
“The ones that are vaccinated, though, that end up testing positive, 9 times out of 10 are in patients that have received the J&J vaccine,” she said.
At this time, the CDC is not recommending booster shots, saying there is not enough data that the J&J vaccine offers less protection from the Delta variant.
“It did prove to not work as well with the U.K. variant so by inference, people are assuming that it probably may not work as well against the Delta variant and people think they need to get a booster,” said Dr. Suman Radhakrishna of Dignity Health. “We are still finding so far that the people who’ve been vaccinated are less likely to be severely ill and require hospitalization.”
In a statement, a J&J spokesperson told CBS, Los Angeles, they have ongoing trials to assess the need for and timing of booster doses of its vaccine, adding that they are “monitoring the Delta variant… and are testing whether the immune response elicited by our COVID-19 vaccine is also targeting this strain and capable of neutralizing it in a laboratory setting.”