SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Delta variant of COVID-19 causes a dramatic increase in cases across the country, including the ArkLaTex. Louisiana currently ranks 49 out of 50 states in vaccination rates.

“It’s making people more nervous, and it should,” said Dr. John Vanchiere, Director of COVID-19 Testing and Vaccinations for LSU Health Shreveport.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is currently making up 59 percent of new cases in Louisiana.

“The Alpha variant was characterized as 50 percent more infectious than the original virus,” Vanchiere said. “Now the Delta variant is 50% more infectious than the Alpha variant.”

Less than 30% of vaccine-eligible people in our area have been vaccinated, which is a recipe for the infectious variants to mutate.

“We haven’t vaccinated enough to stop the emergence of variants,” Vanchiere said.

People who are vaccinated have been affected by the Delta variant.

“The more this delta variant spreads, the more we’ll see healthy people that are surprising to others, get so sick,” said Dr. Martha Whyte, Louisiana Department of Health’s region 7 medical director.

Skeptics are asking why they need to be vaccinated if they could potentially still get infected.

“A, it stops you from getting sick at all, if you do get sick, it’s a much easier course. And no one has died that has been vaccinated so far,” Whyte said.

“98 percent of all hospitalizations, and deaths and new infections in this country are in people who are unvaccinated. Vaccines work, no doubt about it,” Vanchiere said.

Multiple vaccine clinics will be held this weekend. Click here for more information.