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The best way to stop the spread of all COVID-19 virus strains, including the Delta variant, is for unvaccinated people to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the variants that are currently circulating, so all eligible people are urged to get vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated protects against the current virus strains and decreases the chances of a vaccine-resistant variant developing in the future.

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is currently the most common COVID-19 virus strain circulating around in the US, the region, and in Iowa. The Delta variant spreads more easily than other variants and that is why COVID-19 cases are increasing in the US and in Iowa.

Know the facts:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with the virus. These vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. After getting the vaccine, you may experience some side effects. The most common are pain and swelling in your arm where you received the shot. Most side effects are mild and could include headache, fever, chills, and tiredness. If you have side effects that last longer than a few days, call your doctor.
  • Even if you've already had COVID-19 and recovered, you should still get vaccinated. Experts are still learning about how long natural immunity lasts. Getting vaccinated is a safe, effective way to protect yourself.
  • You do NOT have to get the vaccine in the county you live in. Any participating health care provider or public health agency can administer the vaccine regardless of your home address.
  • While we remain in the pandemic, the federal government plans to ensure vaccines are made available to those in need without cost to the individual. If you have health insurance, vaccine providers may charge an administration fee to your insurance, but the vaccine will always be provided at no cost.
  • For those who get an mRNA vaccine, the second dose of vaccine provides a higher level of protection, so it is important that people get both doses.
  • At this time vaccine is not available for individuals under age 12.

COVID-19 Testing:

Through Test Iowa at-home, a partnership between the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the State Hygienic Lab (SHL), Iowans will be able to receive a free test kit, collect a saliva sample at home, return the sample by UPS and receive results through email.

Convenient at-home testing is available through https://www.testiowa.com or kits can be picked up from Benton County Public Health at Virginia Gay Hospital in Vinton. Please contact Benton County Public Health with any questions at 319-472-6460.

Homebound individuals have the option to request a kit to be sent to their home, and to have UPS pick up their sample. Results will be sent via email about 24 hours from when the sample is received by SHL. These self-collected saliva test kits are authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization.

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