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We could see COVID-19 strains get stronger if people don't vaccinate.

It only takes a minute for the Delta variant to be passed around.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In around a minute a person infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to someone else. 

A lab manager at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Derek Moates says, "34 of the last 48 samples that we have sequenced-- or 70.8%-- were the Delta variant." 

Science experts are worried about the Delta variant and urge you to protect yourself. This variant is more dangerous than previous strains that we've seen throughout the pandemic. 

"Whereas with other strains of the coronavirus that we've been dealing with, you can be around them for 10-15 minutes in a room before you actually would contract the virus," Moates explained. 

Doctors say if more people don't vaccinate, we could see even stronger strains in the future.

"The more opportunity that the virus gets to get into an individual who's vaccinated, it gives it the opportunity to learn how to get around our immune system so that it can actually defeat the vaccination," Moates said.

RELATED: US coronavirus cases rising again

UAB scientists started seeing the Delta variant pop up in their lab tests three months ago. The mask mandate was lifted in Alabama in April 2021. COVID-19 vaccines are being passed out at neighborhood drug stores in hopes to get more people vaccinated.  

RELATED: US coronavirus cases rising again

"These high viral loads combined with low vaccination rates are creating a potentially very dangerous situation for our state, and the only way to stop it from progressing is to get vaccinated," Moates said. 

There are plenty of places in the Tennessee Valley to receive a vaccine or a COVID-19 test.