DES MOINES, Iowa — There’s growing concern among U.S. health experts about a new strain of the coronavirus known as the Delta variant. The Delta variant was first identified in India and is now spreading in the U.S.
The Delta variant accounts for about 6% of U.S. infections, according to White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. He said the Delta variant is more contagious and may be associated with a higher risk of hospitalization than the original coronavirus strain, CNBC reported.
Doctors say the best thing you can do to protect yourself against the Delta variant is to get fully vaccinated. New analysis from Public Health England shows that vaccines are highly effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant.
Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 96% effective against hospitalization from the Delta coronavirus variant, the new analysis shows. The AstraZeneca vaccine was 92% effective against hospitalization after two doses, according to Pubic Health England.
These numbers are comparable with vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization from the Alpha (U.K.) variant.
“Vaccines do protect us, even from these more severe variants,” said Leyla Best, an infectious disease physician at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. “So it’s important to remind the community to get vaccinated.”
Best says the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not widely distributed worldwide, so there is no data about its protection against the Delta variant.
Public Health England said further work is underway to determine the level of protection vaccines provide against mortality from the Delta variant, but the health agency expects protection to be high.