Two doses of coronavirus vaccines are “highly effective” in preventing hospitalisation from the Delta variant of Covid-19, new analysis shows.
New data by the Public Health England (PHE) suggests both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs provide strong protection against hospitalisation from the strain, designated B.1.617.2.
The Pfizer vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses while the Oxford vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses, PHE said.
The data suggests both jabs are just as good as coping with the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, as the Alpha variant first identified in Kent.
Health officials said the findings were “hugely important” and showed the vaccines offer “significant” protection against hospitalisation from the Delta variant.
The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant, of which 166 people ended up in hospital.
It showed unvaccinated people have twice the risk of hospital admission with the Delta variant as the Alpha variant. Among those who are vaccinated, 12 people in every 100 may end up in hospital with Delta compared with eight for Alpha.
The latest analysis will come as welcome relief after figures showed the number of Delta variant cases of coronavirus across the UK trebled in a week.
The Delta variant is now dominant across the UK, accounting for more than 90 per cent of new Covid-19 cases in the UK.
It is also thought to be 60 per cent more transmissible between household members than the Alpha variant.
PHE has previously published analysis that shows one dose of a coronavirus vaccine is 17% less effective at preventing symptomatic illness from the Delta variant, compared to Alpha, but there is only a small difference after two doses.
Further work is underway to establish the level of protection vaccines will provide against mortality from the Delta variant, but PHE said it was expected to be high.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “These hugely important findings confirm that the vaccines offer significant protection against hospitalisation from the Delta variant. The vaccines are the most important tool we have against COVID-19. Thousands of lives have already been saved because of them.
“It is absolutely vital to get both doses as soon as they are offered to you, to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “It is extremely encouraging to see today’s research showing that vaccines are continuing to help break the link between hospitalisation and the Delta variant after one dose, and particularly the high effectiveness of two doses.
“If you’re getting the call to bring forward your second dose appointment - do not delay - get the second jab so you can benefit from the fullest possible protection.”
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