Health

Delta variant infects closely vaccinated jail inmates, however few are hospitalized

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A sheriff’s deputy measures on Wednesday, April 22.

Sandy Huffaker | AFP | Getty Images

The rapidly spreading Delta variant broke through a federal prison in Texas in the summer and infected both the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated populations, but few were hospitalized, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 233 detainees in the prison that was not named, 185 or 79% were fully vaccinated against Covid19, according to the new report published in the agency’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report.

From July to August, 172 inmates or 74% of the federal prison population were infected with Covid, according to the CDC. The Delta variant hit the unvaccinated harder, the agency said, and infected 39 of the 42 prisoners who were not given the syringes. That compares to the 129 infections from 185 fully vaccinated people.

According to the CDC, four people were hospitalized, three of whom were unvaccinated, and one person who was unvaccinated died.

The agency said the report shows the potential for Delta variant outbreaks in community facilities, including correctional facilities and detention centers, even in locations and populations with high vaccination rates.

“Although attack rates, hospital admissions and deaths were higher in unvaccinated people than vaccinated people, the duration of positive serial test results was similar for both groups,” the agency wrote in the report.

Vaccinating the majority of the US population remains vital as vaccinations are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths, the agency said.

The new report comes as federal health officials urge all Americans to get vaccinated and continue to wear masks indoors, especially in meeting places, as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads across the country.

The US still has a dangerously high number of cases. The nation reports an average of more than 138,900 cases a day on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country reports an average of more than 1,900 deaths a day, data from Johns Hopkins shows.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden outlined a comprehensive plan to increase Covid vaccination rates in the US, urging private employers to immunize their workforce, and ordering vaccinations for federal employees, contractors and healthcare workers.

The plan is to offer boosters of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the general population.

An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended Pfizer booster vaccinations for people 65 years and older and other at-risk Americans on Friday. A final decision from the agency is now expected every day.

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