New analysis by Public Health England shows for the first time that two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2 Indian) variant of the disease.
The analysis suggests that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96 per cent effective against hospitalisation after two doses, while the the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 per cent effective. These figures are comparable with vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation from the Alpha (Kent) variant.
The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – 166 of whom were hospitalised – between April 12 and June 4, looking at emergency hospital admissions in England.
PHE has previously published analysis showing that one dose is 17 per cent less effective at preventing symptomatic illness from the Delta variant, compared to Alpha, but there is only a small difference after two doses. After a full course, vaccine effectiveness reached 88 per cent with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 67 per cent with the AZ vaccine.
Further work remains underway to establish the level of protection against mortality from the Delta variant.
Meanwhile the R rate for England has risen to 1.2-1.4 as of June 11, meaning that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 14 others, means infections are growing at three to six per cent each day. The R rate is higher in the North West at 1.3-1.5.
Public Health Wales puts the R rate in Wales at between 0.8-1.0 as of June 8. In Scotland the modelled estimate for R as at June 10 is between 1.2 and 1.4, with the growth rate increasing to between 3-6 per cent. In Northern Ireland R is also rising, being put at 0.9-1.2 as of June 8.