None of the current COVID-19 vaccines guarantee 100% protection against infection. In a population where a less-than-perfect vaccine has been given, we will still see some deaths among vaccinated people. However, unlike during the first wave of COVID-19 (before vaccines were available), the rates of hospitalization and death will not rise as sharply when this new variant of the virus spreads.
Double-vaccinated people have a 50-60% lower risk of infection from the Delta variant compared to unvaccinated people
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States suggests that the viral load of vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant is similar to that of unvaccinated people. Data from the United Kingdom shows that double-vaccinated people have a 50-60% lower risk of infection from the Delta variant compared to unvaccinated individuals. The difference with this variant is that vaccinated people are more likely to have symptoms after catching the Delta variant compared with earlier forms of the virus. Meanwhile, evidence from Israel and Scotland shows that, in people who got the Pfizer vaccine, their level of protection from infection with symptoms has fallen from 92-94% to 64-79%. This dropped after the Delta variant started spreading. However, vaccines continue to reduce the risk of death by more than 85%, despite these variants.
Manufacturers are working on new vaccines
Antibodies produced by our immune systems are less able to neutralize the Delta variant compared with earlier variants. However, in most people, the vaccine-induced levels of neutralizing antibodies are still large enough to protect us. Manufacturers are now working on new vaccines that protect against the Delta and other variants.