A member of the Government’s Covid-19 Expert Advisory Committee, Dr Lincoln Chambari, has said all the vaccines have been tested and have shown to be effective against all variants including the Delta variant.
The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus was first detected in India and is believed to have worsened the third wave in many countries. Said Dr Chambari:
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The vaccines are effective against the Delta variant.
Researches about the vaccines that have been done in other countries show us that they are very effective.
In fact, vaccines protect against all variants, not only the Delta variant.
Dr Chambari’s remarks echo those of the Chief coordinator of the National Response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Agnes Mahomva, who said the four vaccines were effective against the Delta variant. She said:
All the vaccines we have are doing exactly what we want them to do.
That is to reduce hospitalisation, death and transmission of Covid-19 and we are happy that the vaccines we have are doing that.
There are thousands of different variants of Covid circulating across the world and those with the most potentially concerning changes are called “variants of concern”. They are kept under the closest watch by health officials, and include:
- Delta (B.1.617.2) which currently accounts for 99% of new Covid cases in the UK
- Alpha (B.1.1.7), first identified in the UK but which has spread to more than 50 countries and appears to be mutating again
- Beta (B.1.351), first identified in South Africa but which has been detected in at least 20 other countries, including the UK
- Gamma (P.1), first identified in Brazil but which has spread to more than 10 other countries, including the UK
Doctors Mahomva and Chambari’s remarks are also shared by UK officials who say there is no evidence to indicate the viruses cause more severe disease or might make current vaccines less effective.
Meanwhile, experts note that a virus being more infectious and equally dangerous, will in itself lead to more deaths in an unvaccinated population.
Vaccines offer high protection against severe illness with Covid-19, including infections caused by variants of concern. The shots also reduce the risk of infection. But they are not perfect and do not completely eliminate all risks.