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Two jabs effective in preventing hospitalisation from Delta variant

LONDON : Two doses of Covid-19 vaccines are "highly effective" in preventing hospital admission with the Delta variant, Public Health England (PHE) said on Monday.

Scientists said two jabs of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine stopped the need for in-patient treatment in 96 per cent of cases.

With a double dose of the Oxford- AstraZeneca shot, the rate was 92 per cent, PHE added.

The findings were published as Britain grapples with a surge in cases, most of which were of the Delta strain, which first emerged in India.

The government, which began a mass-vaccination programme with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab in December last year, is pushing for more people to get two jabs.

PHE said the vaccine effectiveness for the Delta variant is comparable with that for the Alpha strain.

Head of immunisation Mary Ramsay said: "These hugely important findings confirm that the vaccines offer significant protection against hospitalisation from the Delta variant."

Further investigations were under way to determine the level of protection against death from the Delta variant, PHE said, but added that it was expected to be "high".

The public health body looked at 14,019 cases of the new variant in England between April 12 and June 4.

CURBS

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed plans to lift most of the remaining curbs by a month on Monday, warning thousands more might die if he did nothing because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

Mr Johnson had hoped to lift most social restrictions on June 21, meaning pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and other hospitality venues could fully reopen.

That much-anticipated step was pushed back to July 19. - AFP, REUTERS

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