Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Research reports - Vaccines are effective against the 'delta variant' of COVID-19

Regarding the COVID–19 from the Washington Post: Your questions, answered

“Are current vaccines effective against the delta variant of covid 19?” — Colleen in Ohio

Yes, coronavirus vaccines have been shown to be effective against the highly transmissible delta variant.

Following are summaries of supporting research from the Post.

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The delta variant, which has been listed as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, was first seen in India and has since been reported in dozens of other countries. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, recently told reporters that the delta variant, also known as B.1.617, is “essentially taking over as the dominant variant” in the United Kingdom. But he said vaccines seem to be slowing the variant’s spread in the United States, where it currently accounts for some 6 percent of new infections.

Fauci said the two-dose messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are doing “very well” in being able to protect against the variant. He said Johnson & Johnson’s single shot is likely doing well too, but there is not as much data as with the mRNA vaccines.

Some early research has shown that vaccination was somewhat less effective against the delta variant.

However, a preprint released last month by Public Health England showed that when the vaccines series were completed, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were highly effective against B.1.617.2, the delta sub-variant that’s in Britain.

The vaccines were 33 percent effective against symptomatic infection from the delta variant after the first dose. But after the second dose, the Pfizer vaccine was 88 percent effective and the AstraZeneca vaccine, an adenovirus-vectored vaccine, was 60 percent effective, according to the findings.

“We expect the vaccines to be even more effective at preventing hospitalization and death,” said Mary Ramsay, who is head of immunization at Public Health England, “so it is vital to get both doses to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”

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