LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As COVID-19 cases rise in Clark County, there is renewed concern about contracting the virus, even if you are fully vaccinated.
Many of those who have received their full vaccination are also wondering if having a cough or fever means they are infected.
Experts say it is important to remember that the pandemic is not over yet. While Nevada has reopened and mask mandates are gone, everyone still needs to be vigilant. That includes instances where fully vaccinated people start to feel sick.
The COVID Delta variant is more transmissible, and local vaccination rates are plateauing.
“I think it is something to be a little concerned about,” said Dr. Christina Madison, an associate professor of pharmacy practice at Roseman University of Health Sciences.
While those who are fully vaccinated are less at risk of being hospitalized, there is still a small chance of ending up with the virus.
“We know that the vaccine is not a silver bullet, but it is extraordinarily effective,” Madison said. “Even in the face of these variants, it is your best defense against this virus.”
So, what if you are fully immunized and suddenly feel sick? How do you know if it is a rare COVID case or just a cold?
“Unfortunately, it’s really not possible to distinguish whether or not you have COVID, the Delta variant or sometimes even the common cold,” said Dr. Marc J. Kahn, dean of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. “The only way to know for sure if you have COVID is to get tested for COVID.”
Experts add, a rise in the common cold is not expected given all the measures we have taken to prevent COVID and now that masks are not required.
“We are going to see an increase in some of these other transmissible viruses,” Kahn said.
Even in those cases, you are recommended to be cautious.
“If you’re sick with anything, you shouldn’t be going out in situations where you can spread disease to others, whether it’s COVID or the flu or anything else,” said infectious disease epidemiologist Brian Labus, assistant professor at the UNLV School of Public Health. “You shouldn’t be spreading that disease to other people.”
And when it comes to the coronavirus, if you are in crowds of people and unsure of their vaccination status:
“It really probably is in your best interest to wear a mask, even if the CDC doesn’t mandate it,” Madison shared.
Because vaccination rates in Clark County are not at the herd immunity threshold yet, state and local leaders are trying to ramp up their efforts. Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that the state will launch more mobile vaccination units at targeted locations and enroll new providers to administer vaccines directly to patients.