AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccines are ‘highly effective’ at protecting against the Delta (previously known as the Indian) variant, according to new real world data from Public Health England (PHE).

The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant, of which 166 were hospitalised, between 12 April and 4 June, looking at emergency hospital admissions in England.

The new data, published as a pre-print, demonstrated that two doses of AZ’s COVID-19 vaccine are 92% effective against hospitalisation caused by the Delta variant, with no deaths observed among vaccinated individuals.

The data also showed the vaccine had high levels of effectiveness against the Alpha variant – first identified in the UK – with an 86% reduction of hospitalisations and no deaths reported.

However, the data also showed that the vaccine is less effective against milder symptomatic COVID-19 disease.

The vaccine was 74% effective against symptomatic disease caused by the Alpha variant and 64% effective against the Delta variant.

Meanwhile, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was found to be 96% effective against the Delta variant after two doses.

“It is extremely encouraging to see today’s research showing that vaccines are continuing to help break the link between hospitalisation and the Delta variant after one dose, and particularly the high effectiveness of two doses,” said Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi.