Local doctors urge unvaccinated people to reconsider as Delta variant concerns rise

As concerns mount about the Delta variant from India that is believed to be more transmissible and deadly, local doctors are debunking myths about the coronavirus vaccine and urge people to get the shot.

Dr. Suman Radhakrishna, the Director of Infectious Disease for Dignity Health Hospital, said the vaccines offer the most protection against the Delta variant. 

"We also find that the two doses are much better in terms of fighting off the Alpha variant, which is the UK variant, as well as the Delta variant which is the one that is spreading everywhere from India," she said.

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Dr. Radhakrishna also spoke to Fox 11 about the FDA emergency use approval for the vaccinations compared to full FDA approval.

"When the emergency use authorization came through, it was to say ‘Hey, we have something that is going to protect and prevent people from dying, we should not hold it back.' Whenever a vaccine is approved, the first thing they need to make sure is it will do no harm, at least on a short-term basis, and the second is to be effective because if it does no harm and it is not effective, it isn't necessary. The same with it being effective but causing harm because then it's a problem," said Radhakrishna.

The mRNA technology used in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has been around for decades.

According to the FDA, in order to get emergency use FDA approval, a manufacturer has to submit safety data and undergo a rigorous development process with thousands of study participants.  

"Even after FDA approval, most of the drugs and vaccines continue to collect data in terms of making sure that no mistakes were done, and everything is OK. So just because it gets FDA approved doesn't mean the data collection stops. People need to understand that an emergency use authorization was needed so that people could get it sooner and we were still collecting data and when it gets fully FDA approved, we will continue to collect data because it's not going to stop," she said.

RELATED: CDC to label delta COVID-19 strain a 'variant of concern,' says vaccines 'effective'

Elisa Wishan, a woman who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March of 2020, is also sharing her story to encourage others to get vaccinated.

"I'm still scared. I have a lot of anxiety around it. You can't feel this virus. You can't touch it. It just happens," said Wishan.

Wishan was diagnosed at a medical center following a serious surgery, and to this day, she still has symptoms and is considered a "COVID-19 long hauler." 

"I still have some side effects, lingering side effects. There's still nerve damage, and there's stuff that happened with my lungs, spots on my lungs. Side effects that I never thought about and things I never had. I still have some shortness of breath. It's been really difficult because I've had to go in and out of a post-COVID ward and deal with doctors, infectious disease doctors and all kinds of things," she said.

Wishan said some of the side effects subsided after she got vaccinated. 

"As soon as I got vaccinated, a lot of my fatigue went away. My energy came back and that's one thing and that's why I did it [get vaccinated]. People that don't feel like they should get vaccinated, I feel that they should. You don't know what's going to happen out there," she said.

According to experts, it appears the Delta variant is highly transmissible, and more contagious even than other highly contagious COVID variants.Between late April and early June, 64 cases of Delta-variant COVID infections were identified among residents of Los Angeles County, with most of them identified in the last few weeks, the health department said. Much of the transmission of this variant appears to be occurring within households.