Dr. Phillip Keiser with the Galveston County Health District recently visited League City to answer questions from residents regarding COVID, including vaccines, current numbers, the Delta variant and more. The Q&A session was broadcasted live on the City's Facebook page during a 40 minute video. If you missed it, you can watch the video below or read some of the questions answered by Dr. Keiser.
What does it mean now that the FDA had approved the Pfizer vaccine?
The FDA approval means that it is fully approved, it’s gone through every regulatory hoop possible, it’s been tested, it’s been shown to be affective, and shown to be safe. This process took well over a year, which is a remarkably fast time but they didn’t cut any corners while testing it.
When should people get the booster vaccine?
It’s recommended that after 6-8 months from when you were vaccinated to start asking about getting the booster vaccine. It is recommended to get the same booster that they got before, so those who got Moderna, get a Moderna booster, those who got Pfizer, get a Pfizer booster.
What percentage of Galveston County is fully vaccinated? How many first-dosed?
Right now, of the eligible population, 86% of those over 65 have been vaccinated, 58% of the entire county is fully vaccinated, and 67% of the entire county have gotten at least one dose of the vaccination.
If you are vaccinated and test positive for COVID, what do you do?
There is not a lot you can do. Generally, if you’re healthy, it’s best to stay home. If you’re around family members, let them know about it. We recommend people getting antibody infusions because it keeps people from getting hospitalized. If you’re having trouble breathing or severe diarrhea, it’s highly recommended to go see the doctor. If you’re feeling weak or bad, call your doctor, or go see someone and let them decide whether you need something if you’re still unsure.
Have we seen any other variants in Galveston County?
We are monitoring for other variants, but there are no cases for others such as Lambda yet. We’ve seen the Delta variant, the Delta Plus variant, and another Delta Plus variant.
Is there a separate test for the Delta variant?
No. Everyone gets the same test. We take a random sample of those tests every week and send them to the Galveston National Lab and they are able to sequence that entire virus and tell us what variant it is.
What would it take to issue a health order for CCISD to require masks or shut down schools?
We are actively monitoring the schools by following the numbers of cases within the schools and the proportions of those cases versus other schools and in the general population. As a local health authority, we can close down a building for a period of time if there is a contagion inside with the goal of cleaning it out and getting people back inside. Our goal is to be collaborative to work with the schools to keep kids in school but also keep kids safe.
If a member of your family gets COVID and everyone needs to self-quarantine, when or how often should members of the home get tested to ensure the virus has passed?
First, you have to assess if the person is likely to be infectious. The rule is that 10 days, plus one day without fever, before being tested. For family members, it is five days, plus a negative test. If you are vaccinated and show no symptoms, there is no reason for you to get a COVID test.
If I was unvaccinated and had COVID, do I still need to get the vaccine?
What we know so far is that if you had COVID, your likelihood of getting COVID again is much less than someone who hasn’t been vaccinated but it is still higher than those who have gotten the vaccine.
How many people have died from the vaccines?
There have been about 6,000 deaths in the United States that may have been related to the vaccine. That gives out a death rate of 0.0001%. It’s less than the chances of being bit by a shark.