Almost a third of patients who died after catching Indian 'delta' variant had BOTH jabs as fears of third wave grow

NEARLY one-third of patients who died of coronavirus after catching the Indian 'Delta' variant had received BOTH Covid jabs, says a report.

As fears of a third wave grow, England's June 21 'Freedom Day' is expected to be postponed for up to one month.

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A Public Health England (PHE) report says that of the 42 people known to have died so far with the Indian variant in the UK, 12 were fully vaccinated.

PHE also revealed that 29 per cent of Covid deaths from the B.1.617.2 strain had been double jabbed, reports the Telegraph.

It added: “There is uncertainty around the magnitude of the change in vaccine effectiveness after two doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine."

“Of note is the high percentage of severe outcomes among people [with vaccine] breakthrough infections”, said PHE epidemiologist Meaghan Kall on Friday.

“Who are they and why is that happening? Work is ongoing to understand the profile of fully vaxxed people with severe outcomes,” she added.

The Telegraph adds that, of the 12 fully jabbed people who had died, "it is speculation, but they are likely to be older or more frail people in whom immunity has faded since they were given their jabs".

A report in The Lancet suggests that further booster immunisations for priority groups will be needed to fend off the B.1.617.2 mutation.

The Government’s policy is to space doses of the Pfizer jab beyond the manufacturer's three-week recommendation.

But this causes immunity to diminish faster than it otherwise would, especially among older Brits.

“These data therefore suggest that the benefits of delaying the second dose, in terms of wider population coverage and increased individual [protection] after the second dose [of Pfizer], must now be weighed against decreased efficacy in the short-term, in the context of the spread of B.1.617.2 [Delta]”, added the researchers.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce on Monday that the final stage of easing controls in England – slated for June 21 – is to be put on hold for up to four weeks amid a surge in cases.

But the move has angered some senior Tories, who have said there is no justification for another "catastrophic" delay to so-called "Freedom Day" when social distancing finally comes to an end.

The latest figures from PHE show there have been 42,323 cases of the Delta variant confirmed in the UK, up by 29,892 from the previous week.

The Delta variant now accounts for 96 per cent of new Covid infections.

The PHE report also suggests the Indian strain is 64 per cent more transmissible in homes, when compared to the Kent (Alpha) strain.

Plus, it can spread 40 per cent more easily outdoors, according to the PHE stats.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Nervtag group which advises ministers on new respiratory diseases, told BBC's The Andrew Marr Show: "That is the thing that will drive the speed with which the next wave comes along.

"I think if we were to open up more that would really fan the flames and lead to this increasing even faster."

Independent SAGE's Anthony Costello, of University College, warned The Mirror: "In a month you'll be up to 100,000 new cases a day."

Brits are two-thirds more likely to catch the Indian variant from close contacts – with cases more than tripling in 11 days.

However, patient numbers have grown at a much slower pace than cases – suggesting the vaccines are currently working to save lives.

Just six per cent of all Delta variant infections were in people who had both jabs.

More than half of the 42 deaths due to the mutation were in unvaccinated Brits.

However, despite rising daily cases, the number of people dying with Covid remains relatively low.

Fatalities increased by 12 yesterday, but numbers have stayed under 20 since May 11.

Meanwhile Britain's vaccination programme is continuing apace, with thousands of over-25s signed up to receive their jabs in the coming days.

Some 34.3million first doses of a Covid-19 vaccine have now been delivered in England – the equivalent of 77.5 per cent of the adult population.

And a whopping 70,741,984 jabs have been administered across the UK, including 29,450,653 second vaccines.

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