LONDON: Coronavirus vaccines are about as effective at preventing hospitalization in cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 as they are for the earlier Alpha strain, a UK study has found.
The Public Health England (PHE) report found that a single dose of Pfizer’s vaccine results in 94 percent protection against people being admitted to hospital after becoming infected with the Delta variant.
It compares with the 85 percent protection that the same jab offers against the Alpha variant — results that bode well for worldwide vaccination efforts aimed at ending the pandemic.
Other vaccines delivered similar results. A single dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine provides 71 percent protection against the Delta variant, compared to 76 percent against the Alpha strain, according to the 14,000-case analysis conducted by PHE.
Following the delivery of a second dose, protection against the Delta variant offered by the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs climbs to 96 percent and 92 percent, respectively.
PHE concluded in its report that vaccination efforts could result in a sharp drop in hospitalization rates, including both Alpha and Delta variant cases.
Prof. Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, hailed the study as “very encouraging indeed.”
An earlier Scottish study found that people who had caught the Delta variant, which is thought to be about 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha strain, were about 85 percent more likely to be admitted to hospital than those who become infected with the earlier variant.