COVID-19: Delta Variant Increases Risk of Hospitalization But Vaccine Protection Remains High, Study Finds

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COVID-19: Delta Variant Increases Risk of Hospitalization But Vaccine Protection Remains High, Study Finds


The risk of being hospitalized with the Delta (Indian) variant of the coronavirus is about double that of the Alpha (Kent) strain, but two doses of the vaccine still offer strong protection against it, new data suggests.

However, the level of protection against the Indian variant of COVID-19[feminine[feminine may be lower than that of the Kent variant, suggests early research published in The Lancet.

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Data analyzed from 5.4 million people in Scotland shows that the Delta variant is now the dominant form of the virus in the country.

There were 19,543 community-based COVID cases during the period studied – April 1 to June 6 – with 377 hospital admissions where a specific variant was confirmed.

A total of 7,723 cases and 134 hospital admissions were found to have the Delta variant, which is believed to be about 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.

Researchers said people with underlying conditions were more likely to be admitted to hospital, as was the case with previous variants.

They found that while the vaccines reduced the risk of hospitalization, strong effects against the Delta variant were not seen until 28 days after the first vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech jab was found to offer 79% protection against infection with the Delta variant, compared to 92% against the Alpha strain, in community cases at least two weeks after the second dose.

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The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab offered 60% protection against infection with the Delta variant, compared to 73% for the Alpha variant.

According to experts, the lesser effect of the vaccine may reflect the fact that it takes longer to develop immunity after receiving the Oxford vaccine.

The study was funded by the Medical Research Council, UK Research and the Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) – and was supported by the Scottish Government.

Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh and head of the EAVE II study, said: “Within weeks, the Delta variant became the dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 in Scotland.

“It is unfortunately associated with an increased risk of hospitalization from COVID-19.

“Although they may not be as effective as against other variants, two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech and Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccines still offer substantial protection against the risk of infection and hospitalization.

“So it’s really important that when offered second doses, people take them, both to protect themselves and to reduce domestic and community transmission. “

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Second crucial jab to beat the delta variant

Professor Sheikh said during a press briefing that a delay in the lockdown was eased, which is expected to be announced by Boris Johnson later, would allow more people to get the increased protection offered by two jabs.

He said: “If there is a delay, I think it will give us the opportunity to expand coverage, which is extremely important for those who have only one dose at the moment.

“This will give the opportunity to increase the proportion of the population with two doses and then what we want is a period of time where people can actually maximize their immune responses.

“I think any sort of increase in the window of opportunity before the foreclosure measures are fully ended will be helpful, as it will help us control community transmission.

“So overall I would be very supportive of any delay that might be announced. “

Dr Jim McMenamin, National Director of COVID-19 Incidents for Public Health in Scotland, said: ‘These results provide early encouragement that two doses of Pfizer / BioNTech or Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccines significantly reduce the risk of infection. against the Alpha or Delta variants.

“They also show that the vaccines offer protection against the risk of hospitalization with the new Delta variant.

“While no vaccine can be 100% protective, they offer the best protection against COVID-19 and it remains important to get both doses when offered. “

The researchers say their work needs to be replicated in other countries and settings to increase confidence in their early findings.

They also say that due to the observational nature of the study, data on vaccine efficacy should be interpreted with caution and that a direct comparison between the two vaccines is not possible.

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