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Uganda Virus Research Institute


Key Notes On the Delta Variant and Media Hype

Dr Jennifer Serwanga clears way for facts about vaccination and the Delta variant

By Dr. Jennifer Serwanga Ssempala, BVM, PhD Assistant Director Research, Uganda Virus Research Institute.

On the Delta and Media Hype

It is correct, the Delta variant is taking over the global epid emic. However the media is more sensational than helpful, they are not bringing out the key message.

Vaccines are preventives, NOT cures. One can still contract COVID once vaccinated. As long as that vaccine is preventing you from facing severe disease and worse, it IS working and doing exactly what it was designed to do.

A lot of the media hype has been extremely scare tactic. The entrance of the Delta variant has changed the transmission dynamics, but I just cannot express enough that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are highly effective against the Delta Variant.That's why it's so important to Keep Doing Your Bit and get both doses when you are called. But please, still follow all the guidance.

The press does not report in context

On Israel: Data out of Israel shows 244 individuals have tested positive. 61% were not fully vaccinated and 60% of these are experiencing symptoms. Two are hospitalized. BUT amongst the 39% who ARE fully vaccinated and tested positive, ZERO have symptoms. Secondly, Israel has only recorded five severe cases in the past 10 days.

On Australia's lockdown: At the West Hoxton "super spreader" party event in NSW, 24 of the 30 tested positive for COVID-19. To emphasise just how important vaccinations are,
1) not one of those 24 people were vaccinated
2) None of the six health workers who attended the party, who were fully vaccinated got infected."

Worse still, Australia has the least vaccine coverage among OECD countries. Note that Australia is also an Astrazeneca user.

"Short message is, get vaccinated."

On India where Astrazeneca is widely used: A Study of 31,621 HCWs out of Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi shows:
•Both Covishield (AstraZeneca) and Covaxin provided protection in OVER 95% of vaccinated individuals. ZERO deaths after vaccination. This study covered India’s second wave and Delta (January 16th- May 31st). •Post-vaccination infections occurred in only 4.28% (1355/31,621)
•Only 0.28% (90/31,621) required hospitalization
•Only 0.009% (3/31,621) required ICU

Another fantastic study to add for Delta, there are reductions in neutralization titres of sera collected from recipients of AstraZeneca and Pfizer’s vaccines but NO evidence of widespread complete escape from neutralization https://t.co/NREOzgjmQ9

On Singapore: Data from Singapore adds to others in making the same point. Most cases in SG are Delta variant. Symptomatic cases dropped from 10% in unvaccinated to 1% in fully vaccinated. One dose not so good.

In Europe: Spectators are watching football live in the field.

In New York: Pandemic restrictions have been lifted because of vaccination

In Uganda: Yes the Delta has taken over, it is abundant, therefore follow all the procedures that vaccinate. Severe cases and hospitalisations are in the unvaccinated. The same message applies globally. Get AZ double vaxxed

Key Message: The current generation of vaccines WILL provide protection against the DELTA lineage, although reduced titres may lead to some breakthrough infections, WHICH WILL BE MILD if you are fully vaccinated. You can still transmit therefore continue with SOPs. At individual basis, there are many other factors that count including age and underlying conditions. Evaluate your own circumstances

Also, according to Public Health England, the vaccines ARE indeed effective against Delta and after both doses:
•Pfizer is 96% effective against hospitalization
•AstraZeneca is 92% effective against hospitalization

On the Delta plus:“Absolutely no reason to panic, while Delta-plus is a variant of concern & under investigation, there is no reason to believe it is “worse” than the Delta variant. Delta is bad enough to worry about, we need to focus on keeping the wave by Delta down and not go up again. If we do so, fears of Delta+ and others will automatically be taken care of.

Key point: Just keep spreading actual factual information. THESE VACCINES ARE DOING WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.