MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Our Nextdoor neighbor, Lindsay, reached out to us.
She asked, "The Memphis homepage for COVID says that the vaccine is 100% effective. What does this mean?"
Let's break it down since cases are back on the rise.
It is not what we want to see again, but in some areas, it is happening. COVID cases are going back up in Shelby County. Monday was day four of over 100 cases reported.
“The numbers have gone up significantly in the hospital, tripled even,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Baptist Memorial's Infectious Disease Specialist.
Over at Methodist, Dr. Shirin Mazumder is seeing the same with outpatients.
“Primarily, the patients I see are largely unvaccinated,” said Dr. Mazumder.
That is why getting fully vaccinated is stressed.
“Individuals that are partially vaccinated have a really low level of protection from the vaccine,” said Dr. Mazumder.
Take for instance patients at Baptist Memorial Hospital.
Since January, a total of 5,000 people were admitted to the hospital with COVID. Of that, 4,973 were not vaccinated. Twelve had been fully vaccinated and 15 partially vaccinated.
When it comes to the ICU, 481 patients were not vaccinated, two partially vaccinated, and none were fully vaccinated.
What does it show? Being fully vaccinated helps prevent severe cases of infection.
“I don’t think that there’s any question that it’s still helping, but we may be seeing a trend of some of these variants getting a bit more resistant to the vaccine,” said Dr. Threlkeld.
The Delta variant is of particular concern.
“We have some data published from Public Health England. They found that after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine that individuals were protected at a level of about 33-percent. That level of protection rose pretty dramatically up to 88-percent after people were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine,” said Dr. Mazumder.
“Most people, of course, are dramatically protected by the vaccine, but there are a few people, lots of them older folks who have failed a little bit,” said Dr. Threlkeld.
This is another reason as to why doctors say full vaccination is key.
“The pandemic is not over unfortunately. We all need to do things that make us comfortable and keep us safe,” said Dr. Mazumder.
Doctors are concerned about more variants popping up if people don't get vaccinated.
They say if that happens, it is possible booster shots could be needed.