June 15, 2021 ~ MIT Technology review ~ Charlotte Jee

The Delta variant doubles the risk of hospitalization—but the vaccines still work

And being fully vaccinated provides significant protection.

The risk of being hospitalized with the Delta covid-19 variant is roughly double that associated with the original Alpha strain, according to a study published in The Lancet.

The study: The researchers analyzed data from 5.4 million people in Scotland, where the Delta variant is now dominant, from April 1 to June 6. After adjusting for age and comorbidities, the Delta variant approximately doubled the risk of hospital admission. Currently, the variant only accounts for 10% of covid-19 cases in the US. However, that figure is doubling every two weeks, and the Delta variant is likely to eventually replace the Alpha variant as the dominant strain in the US, Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, told CBS on Sunday.

The good news? Vaccines still sharply reduce the risk of being admitted to hospital with the Delta variant. The Scottish study found that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provided 79% protection, two weeks on from the second dose, while the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offered 60% protection. That lower rate may be due to the fact that it takes longer for immunity to develop with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, researchers said.

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