'Only A Matter Of Time.' Health Experts Say All Eyes Are On Unvaccinated As Variant Spreads
Experts with the University of Kentucky say there are fears of more COVID-19 surges with the rise of highly-transmissible variants, but the focus remains on pockets of the state with lower vaccination rates.
Confirmed cases of the more contagious Delta variant sit at just over two dozen in Kentucky, but Dr. Vince Venditto with the UK College of Pharmacy says the seemingly promising low numbers have more to do with a lack of genetic sequencing in Kentucky than the actual spread of the mutation.
"It's only a matter of time for the unvaccinated people in Kentucky to start seeing the effects of Delta the way that they are in Arkansas and Missouri," he told reporters Wednesday.
Meanwhile, new questions are also cropping up for those who have been vaccinated. Should I go back to wearing masks? What about a booster shot?
The panel of UK experts says for now the vaccines are holding up, even against the variants, and serious illness remains largely confined to those who haven't gotten the shot. Still, wearing a mask in more crowded spaces may be a good idea for those looking to protect family members unable to get the vaccines. And another round of mask mandates isn't out of the question.
But when it comes to a new booster, Dr. Aaron Grubbs, a pediatric infectious disease physician, says any move in that direction might begin with more targeted efforts .
"We do know that in some populations vaccine response isn't as good, so those patients particularly might benefit more from a boost before younger, healthier populations would," Grubbs said.
Around half of Kentuckians have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, but there are sizable portions of the state with vaccination rates in the 20s or 30s.