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Delta variant spreads among jabbed people as much as unjabbed, research suggests

Scientists from the University of Oxford have also said their preliminary findings suggest two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appear to have greater effectiveness compared to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab

Early research suggests two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appear to have greater effectiveness compared to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab

The Delta variant spreads among vaccinated people just as much as those who are unjabbed, early research has suggested.

Scientists from the University of Oxford have said their preliminary findings suggest those infected with the Delta variant after their second jab had similar peak levels of the virus to unvaccinated people.

The findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, also suggest that two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appear to have greater effectiveness compared to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

However, its efficacy also declines faster while the AstraZeneca jab maintains its effectiveness throughout.

Researchers have said that although the jabs did not eliminate the chances of getting Covid-19, they said it is still the most effective way to stay protected from the Delta variant.



Researchers say getting jabbed is still the most effective way to stay protected from the Delta variant
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Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)




Sarah Walker, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford, said: “We don’t yet know how much transmission can happen from people who get Covid-19 after being vaccinated – for example, they may have high levels of virus for shorter periods of time.

“But the fact that they can have high levels of the virus suggests that people who aren’t yet vaccinated may not be as protected from the Delta variant as we hoped.

“This means it is essential for as many people as possible to get vaccinated – both in the UK and worldwide.”







The study, carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), looked at data from the Covid-19 Infection Survey between December 2020 and August 2021.

Swab tests from more than 700,000 participants were analysed from before and after May 17, 2021, when Delta became the dominant variant.

The initial analysis revealed that infections with a high viral load, protection after the second Pfizer dose was 90 per cent greater than someone who was unvaccinated.

After two months it reduced to 85 per cent and 78 per cent after three months.



The research has not been peer-reviewed yet
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Image:

REUTERS)




For AstraZeneca, the equivalent protection was 67 per cent, 65 per cent and 61 per cent, researchers said.

Dr Koen Pouwels, senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health, said the team “can be confident” that the numbers “really represent a decline” for the Pfizer vaccine, whereas for AstraZeneca “the differences are compatible with chance, that is there could be no change at all in the protection from AZ”.

But he added: “Even with these slight declines in protection against all infections and infections with high viral burden, it’s important to note that overall effectiveness is still very high because we were starting at such a high level of protection.



Delta variant spreads among jabbed people as much as unjabbed, research suggests
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“It is also worth highlighting that these data here do not tell us about protection levels against severe disease and hospitalisation, which are two very important factors when looking at how well the vaccines are working.”

The scientists also found that a single dose of the Moderna vaccine had similar or greater effectiveness against the Delta variant as single doses of the other vaccines, but the researchers added that they did not yet have any data on second doses of the US-made jab.

The study also suggested that the time between doses did not affect effectiveness in preventing new infections.

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Furthermore, younger people (aged 18-34) had more protection from vaccination than older age groups (35 to 64-year-olds).

Researchers said they could not comment on what their preliminary findings will mean for the potential autumn booster campaign.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) would be considering the data while making its decision.

Commenting on the research, Dr Alexander Edwards, associate professor in Biomedical Technology at the University of Reading, who was not involved in the study, said: “Overall this study is excellent as it shows that although Delta is better at infecting vaccinated people than previous variants, the vaccines still work remarkably well.

“There are subtle differences – between different vaccine types, and some changes over time – but they all work brilliantly.”











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