Delta variant spread prompts question of whether to test vaccinated people

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The CDC's current guidance says fully vaccinated people don't need to undergo routine COVID-19 testing, but with the delta variant becoming the country's dominant strain, some experts are wondering whether vaccinated people should be getting tested, CNN reported July 8. 

Since the CDC limits data reporting on breakthrough COVID-19 infections — those occurring among fully vaccinated people — to those that cause severe disease, mild or asymptomatic infections caused by the delta variant, first detected in India, mostly go undetected. This can make it difficult to assess whether a variant is evading vaccine protection.  

"I think now we should revisit this policy with the delta variant and determine if the current recommendations hold up," said Peter Hotez, MD, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

"We need to design studies. Assuming this is underway, then the question becomes, do we wait for those studies or change recommendations now and reconsider regular testing for asymptomatic vaccinated individuals? Given how disruptive this is, I would probably be inclined to wait for additional data before going backward," Dr. Hotez told CNN

Other experts point to data showing vaccines' ability to protect against delta and say it's not yet necessary to change testing guidance. 

"I still think that the pre-test probability of a positive COVID-19 test in people who are vaccinated and asymptomatic is very small," Paul Offit, MD, director of the vaccine education center at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, told CNN

 

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