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Covid-19 Response FAQs: The delta variant

July 9, 2021

Excerpted from Covid-19 Response FAQs:

Q: I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With variants like Delta, do I need to get a booster with an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer)?

A: At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services do not recommend additional vaccination for people who have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The vaccine provides strong protection from Covid-19, and in individuals who do experience breakthrough infection, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine helps protect against severe disease and hospitalization, rendering it similar to other types of respiratory illness. Evidence also suggests vaccinated people are unlikely to transmit the virus to others. UHS, along with other vaccine providers in the state, are not offering second doses of any vaccine to individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Please do not show up to the vaccine clinic to receive a second dose if you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as staff will not be able to provide you with another dose. The university will continue to monitor related national and state guidance.

Q: With more infectious variants such as Delta, do vaccinated people need to wear masks?

A: Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Evidence from real-world studies shows that fully vaccinated people in the United States still have strong protection against COVID-19 and current variants. However, vaccinated people may still choose to wear a mask. As of May 2021, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say that fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks in most indoor or outdoor settings. Due to the rise of more infectious variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, such as the delta variant, the World Health Organization recommended in June 2021 that vaccinated individuals wear masks. However, CDC has not changed its guidance. WHO’s recommendations are applied in a global context, where many countries have vaccination rates lower than in the U.S. and/or may not have access to vaccines that are as effective. In many countries, the unvaccinated population outnumbers the vaccinated population and they are seeing a surge of the delta variant in unvaccinated people. The CDC and others continue to study the effectiveness of vaccines against emerging variants and UW–Madison will continue to monitor public health guidance. Vaccination rates are high on campus and in Dane County. Communities or populations with lower vaccination rates may choose to enact new mask measures to better protect unvaccinated people and limit spread of COVID-19.

Q: Where can I get vaccinated?

  • University Health Services
    • UW–Madison employees and students can make appointments through the MyUHS portal.
    • helps people more easily locate available vaccine providers who are open to the public.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services vaccine registry
    • Public Health Madison & Dane County and others are also offering appointments to people who sign up through the DHS registry. Vaccines are given at the Alliant Energy Center by appointment only. Transportation is available for those who need it — more information about this service is provided when an appointment is made.
  • Your health care provider
    • Check with your provider about vaccine availability.
  • Pharmacies
    • A growing number of pharmacies, including many national retailers, are now offering vaccination. Check the DHS website for a list of participating pharmacies and information on how to make an appointment.
  • Community-based vaccination clinics