LONDON (AFP) – Two doses of COVID-19 vaccines are “highly effective” in preventing hospital admission with the Delta variant, Public Health England (PHE) said on Monday.
Scientists said two jabs of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine stopped the need for in-patient treatment in 96 per cent of cases.
With a double dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot, the rate was 92 per cent, PHE added. The findings were published as Britain grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases, most of which were of the Delta strain, which first emerged in India.
The increase is again raising concerns about the potential strain on hospitals, prompting calls to postpone a planned lifting of social distancing curbs on June 21.
The restrictions have been in place since January, when the Alpha strain of the coronavirus, which was first identified in Kent, southeast England, spread rapidly.
The government, which began a mass-vaccination programme with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab in December last year, is pushing for more people to get two jabs.
PHE said the vaccine effectiveness for the Delta variant is comparable to that for the Alpha strain.
Head of Immunisation Mary Ramsay said, “These hugely important findings confirm that the vaccines offer significant protection against hospitalisation from the Delta variant.”