The Houston Methodist reported that three patients contracted the Delta Plus COVID-19 variant between June 27 and July 4.

“The Delta Plus variant is a variant of COVID-19 that has all the mutations of the Delta variant and has acquired an additional mutation in the spike protein,” Dr. Wesley Long said.

Health officials in India have already warned that the new variant is more contagious and more severe than the original virus. Doctors say the variant may decrease the effectiveness of vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatments.

“Whether it’s Delta Plus today or Delta Plus Plus tomorrow – or any of the other possible variants – what we know is if we only have a certain percent of the population vaccinated and we still have transmission happening in unvaccinated populations, there’s going to be more variants,” said Dr. Maria Rivera, with Harris County Public Health. “What’s happening now is absolutely what we were concerned would happen if we didn’t get to a certain number of vaccinations,” Rivera said.

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As of now, only half of Harris County’s population has been fully vaccinated. Citizens with severe diseases make up a large portion of unvaccinated people. Doctors say that until more people get vaccinated, more variants will appear.

“A lot of people get the impression the pandemic is over and the pandemic is fine. I think the message we’re trying to send is, unfortunately, the pandemic is not over, if you’re not vaccinated, especially, you’re still at risk,” Rivera said.