NORFOLK, Va. - Thursday morning, Ebony Boulware walked out of the Military Circle mall vaccine clinic with an added peace of mind.
"My mom told me about the Delta variant and I needed to be cautious," Boulware said. "I heard it is the worst strain so far, and that is terrible."
Boulware went to get her shot because of the news of a new COVID-19 variant, known as the Delta variant, coming out of India and making its way into the United States.
"It is spreading easily," said Dr. Ryan Light with Greenbrier Family Medicine in Chesapeake. "The doubling time is once a week, so that means 20 to 22 percent of population testing coming out is with Delta variant at this point."
Infectious disease experts also said this week that the Delta variant is 60 percent more contagious then the Alpha variant, originally discovered in the United Kingdom.
"We likely have it in Virginia," Light said.
Light says the good news is that if you're vaccinated, you're protected from the variant.
"Data out says Pfizer is 88 percent effective in preventing hospitalization, 96 percent against the variant, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are doing very well against the variant," Light said.
He says in those who haven't received the shot, the Delta variant is presenting with runny noses, headaches and coughs. He says the biggest preventative to this highly contagious strain is to get vaccinated.
"Also, follow the CDC guidelines and don't forget about good hygiene, social distancing, handwashing and masks," Light added.