The good news? The vaccines further greatly reduce the risk of being admitted to hospital with the Delta variant. The Scottish study found that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine offered 79% protection, two weeks after the second dose, while the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine offered 60% protection. This lower rate may be because it takes longer for immunity to develop with the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, the researchers said.
However, the research published shortly thereafter by Public Health England was even more promising. He found that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine provides 96% protection against hospitalization after two doses, while the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective in preventing hospitalization after both injections. The conclusion? This is further proof of the importance of making sure that as many people as possible get vaccinated and that they receive both vaccines.
Infectious: The Delta variant is 64% more transmissible than the Alpha variant indoors, according to Public Health England.
This data, combined with data on hospital admissions, is why the UK has delayed plans to lift most of the remaining covid-19 restrictions by a month. The hope is that these extra few weeks will give enough time to increase the number of fully vaccinated adults. Although over 70% of the UK adult population have received a dose, just over half have received both.
The great fear: One concern, early on in vaccination programs, has been that current vaccines will become much less effective as the virus evolves and adapts, a scenario known as “Vaccine escape”. As it stands, this does not appear to have happened. But eventually, we will need new vaccines designed to deal more specifically with the variants.