The UK has been celebrating the victory of its vaccination program just three weeks ago. The country has eased many COVID19 pandemic-linked restrictions. However, since then, a more contagious strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has started circulating in the UK. This has derailed the plans of the government to fully open the country on June 21. Now, public health officials in the United States are worried about the possibility that a similar virus spread can take place in the country. They have said that if this deadly Delta strain starts circulating in the US it will jeopardize the efforts taken by the health experts to end the pandemic by this summer. One of the most contagious and transmissible strains of coronavirus called the Delta variant has been found in India for the first time during the recent surge in the country. British Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has said that it is nearly 40 percent more contagious as compared to the original strain that has emerged in 2019. Many strains of coronavirus have surfaced since the COVID19 pandemic has started. Health experts are worried that the mutation can come up with a strain that is able to dodge currently available vaccines as well. Dr. Eric Topol, who is the founder of Scripps Research Translational Institute, has said that the Delta variant is the worse strain, experts have witnessed so far. As per the genomic sequencing studies, the Delta strain contributes to only 6 percent of COVID19 cases in the US so far. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a top infectious disease expert in the US and medical advisor to President Joe Biden has said that the scene can rapidly change in the US and the worrisome variant might create havoc in the country.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that people in the US should consider taking vaccines to avoid a situation like the UK. The Biden administration has pledged to vaccinate nearly 70 percent of adults in the US by July 4, 2021. Although the US has administered more than 300 million doses of vaccine so far, the rate of vaccination has reduced more recently. The emergence of the Delta variant has put up a new challenge for health experts. An immunologist from the University of Edinburgh, Eleanor Riley has said that vaccines might not offer full protection from this strain. He has said that even fully vaccinated people might have less neutralizing antibodies against the Delta variant as compared to other strains. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that the new strain might be linked to the increased severity of the disease as compared to the original strain. He has said that people who have been given only one dose of the two-dose vaccines such as Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines are more susceptible to the Delta strain. The AstraZeneca COVID19 vaccine has been widely rolled out in Europe but it is not being used in the vaccination program in the US. On the other hand, the Moderna vaccine is quite popular in the US but it is not widely used in the UK. Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots have been proved to be 50 percent effective against the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus three weeks after the first dose. However, experts have said that both vaccines are only 33 percent effective against the Delta strain. After the second dose, the Pfizer vaccine is around 88 percent effective and AstraZeneca shot is only 60 percent effective, said the experts.
As per the government data, around 40 million adults have been vaccinated with the first dose in the UK. Around 28 million people have been fully vaccinated with two doses of the shot in the UK. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that around 53 percent of adults in the US have been given full two doses of the vaccine. Around 64 percent of the adult population is partially vaccinated in the US. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that the peak spread of the Delta Strain in the UK has been seen in people who are in the age group of 12 to 20 years. In the UK, the rate of vaccination among younger people has been quite slow. On the other hand, adolescents have qualified for vaccination in the US next month only. England, with a population of 53.6 million has started vaccinating people who are in the age group of 25 to 29 years this week itself. The officials from the White House have said that the government has announced outreach programs and a flurry of incentives to motivate people to take vaccines and reduce the effects of the Delta strain across the country.