Researchers looked at over 600 people in the UK over the course of a year for the study, done by Imperial College London and the UK Health Security Agency (HSA) and published this week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
“Although vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe disease and deaths from COVID-19, our findings suggest that vaccination is not sufficient to prevent transmission of the Delta variant in household settings with prolonged exposures,” the study declares.
In their analysis of “densely sampled household contacts exposed to the Delta variant,” researchers found 38% of those unvaccinated got Covid, while 25% of those vaccinated got it.
Vaccinations are more effective at stopping the spread of other variants, such as Alpha, reducing spread by approximately 40 to 50%, according to the study.
The study also claims that the viral load, the amount of a virus in one’s body, is similar among the vaccinated and unvaccinated, though the virus dissipates quicker in vaccinated individuals, according to the findings.
“Fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts. Host–virus interactions early in infection may shape the entire viral trajectory,” the paper reads.
Health officials have continuously warned the public the Delta variant is the most deadly and transmittable coronavirus variant and even vaccinated individuals can spread it.
Researchers behind the Lancet study claimed ‘booster’ programs and approved vaccinations for younger individuals will help curb the spread of the virus going into the winter months, “but analysis suggests that direct protection of individuals at risk of severe outcomes, via vaccination and non-pharmacological interventions, will remain central to containing the burden of disease caused by the Delta variant.”
Ajit Lalvani, co-lead of the study and professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London, claims vaccinations alone are not enough to protect from the Delta variant, and this new data shows it, though he also encouraged unvaccinated individuals to get inoculated.
“Our findings show that vaccination alone is not enough to prevent people from being infected with the Delta variant and spreading it in household settings,” Lavlani said.
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