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expert reaction to preprint from PHE looking at the Delta variant and vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisations

A preprint, an unpublished non-peer reviewed study, from Public Health England (PHE), looks at effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines against hospital admission with the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant.


Dr Peter English, Retired Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, Former Editor of Vaccines in Practice, Immediate past Chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee, said:

“This is more excellent news about the vaccines and their real-world effectiveness against the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“With over 14,000 symptomatic cases, 166 of whom were hospitalised, this provides good quality evidence of real-world effectiveness.

“The effectiveness is not surprising – we know that vaccines are generally increasingly effective at preventing increasingly severe illness.  Nevertheless, it is extremely reassuring to see that vaccines’ efficacy against hospitalisation with Delta variant disease is so close to their efficacy against the Alpha and original variants, and over 90% after two doses, for both vaccines.

“This gives us more hope that the anticipated extension of the 21 June data for relaxing restrictions will not need to be delayed for too long, especially if further data (such as this recent paper1) show marked indirect protection.”

  1. Milman O, Yelin I, Aharony N, Katz R, Herzel E, Ben-Tov A, et al. Community-level evidence for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine protection of unvaccinated individuals. Nature Medicine 2021. (



Preprint (not a paper): ‘Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against hospital admission with the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant’ is a preprint that was published by PHE at 18:00 UK time on Monday 14 June 2021.

This work is not peer-reviewed.



Declared interests

Dr Peter English: “No COI to declare.”

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