Fully vaccinated may spread Delta variant just as easily as people without jabs

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A woman being vaccinated

The Pfizer vaccinations were shown to be more effective at first, but their effectiveness waned with time (Picture: PA)

Both the Oxford and Pfizer vaccines provide excellent protection against the Delta form of coronavirus infection – but individuals who test positive may readily transmit the illness on, according to a significant new research.

The study discovered that individuals who have been double-jabbed and became infected with the strain had comparable peak levels of virus in their nose and mouth as people who have not been vaccinated, indicating that they may readily spread it.

Vaccines seemed to provide better protection against infection from other types, according to scientists.

According to early results, two doses of Pfizer seem to be more effective than the Oxford vaccine against the strain originally discovered in India, but its potency also decreases quicker.

More than 700,000 random individuals were PCR tested by Oxford University scientists before and after May 17, 2021, when Delta became the prevalent variation in the UK.

Previous research has often focused on hospitalized patients and shown encouraging results in terms of vaccination protection against mortality and serious illness.

Researchers discovered that the amount of protection provided by both vaccinations is comparable after four to five months, with the AstraZeneca jab retaining its efficacy during that time.

Daily Cases in the UK.

Vaccinations may not be able to significantly reduce cases in the UK now that Delta is the prevalent virus (Picture Metro.co.uk)

The results, which have not yet been peer reviewed, indicated that for illnesses with a high viral load, protection was 90 percent higher a month after the second Pfizer dosage than with an unvaccinated person, dropping to 85 percent after two months and 78 percent after three months.

According to the researchers, AstraZeneca’s comparable protection was 67 percent, 65 percent, and 61 percent.

They went on to say that although vaccinations did not completely remove the danger of contracting Covid-19, they did decrease it and remained the most effective method to guard against the virus.

‘We don’t yet know how much transmission can happen from individuals who acquire Covid-19 after being vaccinated – for example, they may have high amounts of virus for shorter periods of time,’ said Sarah Walker, an Oxford University professor of medical statistics and epidemiology.

‘However, the fact that they may have high amounts of virus indicates that individuals who haven’t been vaccinated yet may not be as protected against the Delta version as we had anticipated.

An NHS worker prepares a Covid jab at a pop-up vaccination centre during a four-day vaccine festival in Langdon Park, Poplar, east London.

Researchers praised the vaccinations’ efficacy against Covid once again (Picture: PA)

‘As a result, it is critical that as many people as possible be vaccinated – both in the UK and across the world.’

The research, which was carried out in collaboration with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), looked at data from the Covid-19 Infection Survey collected between December 2020 and August 2021.

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

‘Even with these small decreases in protection against all illnesses and diseases with large viral burdens, it’s essential to remember that overall efficacy is still extremely high since we started at such a high level of protection,’ he said.

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‘It’s also worth noting that these figures don’t include protection levels against severe illness or hospitalization, which are two key criteria to consider when evaluating vaccination effectiveness.

However, despite prior studies indicating that vaccinations are highly efficient at reducing hospitalizations, Dr Pouwels said that vaccines are better at preventing serious illness and less effective at preventing transmission.

The researchers also discovered that a single dosage of the Moderna vaccination was as effective as or more successful than single doses of the other vaccines against the Delta variation, but they do not currently have data on second doses of the US-made vaccine, which is also used in the UK.

The research also found that the amount of time between doses had no impact on the efficacy of vaccination in preventing new infections, and that younger individuals (ages 18-34) were better protected by vaccination than older people (35 to 64-year-olds).

Further reading: Coronavirus

The researchers said they couldn’t comment on what the study means for a possible fall booster campaign, but that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) will take the findings into account when making its decision.

NHS authorities are preparing to begin providing a third coronavirus vaccine in early September, but have yet to get approval from the JCVI.

‘Overall, this study is excellent because it shows that, while Delta is better at infecting vaccinated people than previous variants, the vaccines still work remarkably well,’ said Dr Alexander Edwards, associate professor in Biomedical Technology at the University of Reading, who was not involved in the study.

‘There are minor variations across vaccination kinds, as well as some modifications over time, but they all function well.’

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In September, all people in the United States will be eligible to get Covid booster injections.

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This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • is it safe for a vaccinated person to be with an unvaccinated person
  • new vaccine for delta variant
  • can vaccinated people get delta variant
  • symptoms of delta variant in vaccinated people
  • can a vaccinated person spread covid to someone who is vaccinated
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