Scientists at Public Health England (PHE) warned on Friday that there are early signs that persons who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 may be able to spread the delta variant of the covid virus just as readily as those who have not.
The findings are consistent with those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which expressed worries last week that vaccinated persons infected with Delta might, unlike other versions, easily spread it.
The extremely contagious Delta variety has become the main coronavirus type worldwide, fueling a pandemic that has already killed over 4.4 million people, including over 130,000 in the United Kingdom.
Vaccines have been found to provide good protection against Delta-related severe illness and death, especially when given in two doses, but there is less data on whether vaccinated persons may still transmit it to others.
“Some preliminary data… suggest that levels of virus in persons who get infected with Delta after being vaccinated may be comparable to those observed in uninfected people,” PHE stated in a statement.
“This might have an impact on people’s infectiousness, whether they’ve been vaccinated or not. However, this is an early exploratory study, and more focused investigations are required to clarify whether this is the case.”
According to PHE, 55.1 percent of confirmed Delta cases hospitalized since July 19 were unvaccinated, while 34.9 percent got two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Almost 75% of the British population has received two vaccine doses, and PHE predicts that “when more of the population is vaccinated, we will see a larger relative share of vaccinated patients in the hospital.”
Separately, PHE stated that another strain, known as B.1.621, which was initially discovered in Colombia, has shown symptoms of resisting the immunological response induced by either COVID-19 vaccinations or prior infection.