THE Delta variant has thrown a spanner in the works for the reopening of the country.
Having spread fast throughout various hotspots, the new strain caused the Prime Minister to delay the lockdown lift originally planned for June 21.
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Boris Johnson said he wants a four week delay on fully reopening in order to try and get as many people vaccinated as possible.
This is because two jabs from any of the three vaccines used in the UK provides significant protection against severe disease and hospitalisation.
It comes after a jabs expert told a Government committee this morning this would end the public health crisis, despite the virus remaining as a part of life.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard said if severe disease and hospitalisations can be prevented, we can start to properly bounce back from the crisis which began in March last year.
So how effective are the Covid vaccines?
After one dose the Pfizer vaccine is 36 per cent effective against symptomatic illness from the Delta variant.
The latest figures from Public Health England found two weeks after the second jab Pfizer gives 88 per cent protection against catching the Covid strain.
But against severe disease or hospitalisation the figures are better.
PHE revealed this week the Pfizer jab is 94 per cent effective against hospitalisation with the Delta variant after just one dose.
After after two jabs the effectiveness against serious illness rises to 96 per cent.
This compares to 94 per cent protection against symptomatic illness and 95 per cent effectiveness against hospitalisation after two Pfizer jabs against the Alpha (Kent) variant.
After one dose the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is about 30 per cent effective against getting ill from the Delta variant.
Two weeks after the second jab AZ gives 67 per cent protection against catching the strain, the latest figures from Public Health England found.
PHE revealed this week the AZ jab is 71 per cent effective against hospitalisation with the Delta variant after just one dose.
After after two jabs the effectiveness against serious illness rises to 92 per cent.
This compares to 74 per cent protection against symptomatic illness and 86 per cent effectiveness against hospitalisation after two Pfizer jabs against the Alpha (Kent) variant.
Moderna has been given out less overall in the UK, so less is officially known about it's performance against Delta.
But it uses the same technology to develop immunity as the Pfizer vaccine.
And therefore experts in the UK are working on the certain assumption its effectiveness is largely the same as Pfizer, and works very well after two doses against the Delta variant.
During a Downing Street press conference on Monday Professor Chris Whitty said vaccines are reducing hospitalisation.
He added: "The majority of those going into hospital are under 65, this is the group that this is spreading, largely because vaccines are providing a lot of protection now."
But he warned cases were increasing across the country – adding the link between people being admitted to hospital had been "substantially weakened" but "it has not been completely stopped".
And Sir Stephen Vallance, addressing the country alongside Prof Whitty and the PM, said: "These vaccines are really highly effective against the Delta variants."
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