Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

New COVID-19 Delta Variant: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Military personnel receiving the COVID-19 vaccine Navy Hospitalman Marissa Salomon administers a vaccine to a service member at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s off-site location for COVID-19 vaccines. Salomon said: “It’s so important that the military population gets a vaccine to keep everyone safe and mission ready.” (Photo by: Deidre Smith, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Delta Variant

A new and increasingly dangerous variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is rapidly sweeping across the globe. This new variant appears to spread faster, cause more severe disease and is more likely to result in hospitalization.

Also, younger people appear to be more susceptible to the new strain, known as the Delta variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But the good news is that the existing vaccines now available to everyone over the age of 12 have proven to be highly effective in preventing the Delta variant as well as other versions of COVID-19.

"We know that vaccines work," said Dr. Margaret Ryan, medical director of the Defense Health Agency's Immunization Healthcare Division.

Currently, there are three vaccines authorized for use by the Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19: The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines require two doses, and J&J/Janssen is a one-dose vaccine.

The Delta variant is spreading quickly and will likely soon become the dominant strain within the United States.

It's a wake-up call for those people who think that they don't need to get a vaccine because they've successfully avoided the COVID-19 disease so far. It may be very difficult to escape the new Delta variant in the coming months without getting the shot, doctors say.

The Delta variant currently accounts for 20.6 percent of sequenced cases in the U.S., and that number is expected to multiply, especially in regions and among populations with low COVID-19 vaccination rates.

The number of sequenced cases of the Delta variant has roughly doubled every two weeks, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, told a June 22 White House media briefing. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health.

The mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna have been described as having at least 88 percent efficacy against the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, Ryan said.

"But we should not focus too hard on efficacy numbers," she suggested. "All available COVID-19 vaccines have shown strong real-world effectiveness at preventing severe disease by all COVID-19 variants. The most important message is that vaccination saves lives."

Vaccination is also important to prevent new, possibly worse, variants of the virus from appearing, Ryan said. "Every person who gets infected with SARS-CoV-2 allows the virus to replicate, or copy itself, up to one billion times. Every time the virus copies itself, there is a chance for a new variant to appear. We prevent variants from appearing by preventing human infections. We prevent human infections by vaccination," she said.

Because of the Delta variant, “Everyone in the U.S. who is at least 12 years old should be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible," Ryan said.

More than half of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; and 150.4 million, or 45.3 percent are fully vaccinated. For those over the age of 65, 87.3 percent have had at least one dose; 77.2 percent are fully vaccinated.

You also may be interested in...

DHA-PI 6205.01: Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA's) procedures for ordering, receiving, and managing COVID-19 Vaccines inventory and ancillary kits.

DHA-IPM 20-004: Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

Policy

This Defense Health Agency (DHA) Interim Procedures Memorandum (IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (d), and in accordance with the guidance cited in References (e) through (aa), establishes the DHA’s procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. This DHA-IPM applies to DHA, DHA Components (activities under the authority direction, and control of the DHA), Military Departments (MILDEP), and the United States Coast Guard (CG). This DHA-IPM cancels and replaces DHA-IPM 20-004, “Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation,” December 13, 2020.

TAB A MEO COVID19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

Memorandum for DHA Staff - Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA COVID19 Medical Coding PolicyV5 1v

Policy

Establishes the DHA procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) within military medical treatment facilities (MTFs). This memorandum replaces DHA-Policy Memorandum 20-003 of July 1, 2020. Attachment 1 was updated to include the 2021 procedure and diagnosis codes for COVID-19, including the new vaccination and treatment codes.

  • Identification #: 20-003
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Supplemental Guidance for Providing DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccines to DoD Contractor Employees and Select Foreign Nationals

Policy

This memorandum provides supplemental guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, in accordance with reference (a). The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components as appropriate.

HA Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Pre-Testing Questionnaire

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance for a COVID-19 laboratory pre-testing questionnaire that will be mandatory for all Active Duty Service members and encouraged for all other DoD beneficiaries treated at military medical treatment facilities.

Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines

Policy

This EO outlines who should receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government (“United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines”).

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Guidance

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components.

DHA-AI 3020-01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), based on the authority of References (a) through (b) and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (z3), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This DHA-AI also provides a preventive plan to monitor and assess for the appearance of new cases and implement those processes that will prevent them from impacting the workforce. The processes describe herein are intended to offer an actionable plan for the workforce to re-enter DHA Administrative Offices. See Appendix 1 for a summary of the DHA Administrative Office Reopening Plan. The plan uses the Force Health Protection Guidance and Health Protection Conditions (HPCON), in accordance with Reference (d), to ensure protection for the workforce, including the most vulnerable-to-serious complications from the virus while enabling DHA Administrative Offices to continue its mission. See Appendix 2 for the conceptual HPCON framework.

  • Identification #: 3020-01
  • Date: 11/3/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA AI 3020.01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and in preparation for regression or resurgence in COVID-19 cases that could impact the workforce.

  • Identification #: DHA AI 3020.01
  • Date: 6/12/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus
Showing results 1 - 10 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.