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Dr. Fauci says vaccines effective at protecting from Delta variant

The nation’s leading infectious disease experts said Thursday that all three covid-19 vaccines used in the US are effective against the Delta variant.

The nation’s leading infectious disease experts said Thursday that all three covid-19 vaccines used in the US are effective against the Delta variant.

The highly transmissible Delta variant of the covid-19 virus is causing concern around the globe as it becomes the dominant strain. Speaking at a press conference Thursday members of The White House COVID-19 Task Force assured the public that the covid-19 vaccines used in the US are effective against the Delta variant.

The FDA has given approval for emergency use to the covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The first two are two-dose mRNA vaccines while the Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose adenovirus vaccine. According to real-world studies presented by Dr. Anthony Fauci, all three are effective against the highly infectious Delta variant.

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“The world is understandably worried about the Delta virus variant, but studies showed, as I’ve showed you...the vaccines indeed are effective against it,” Dr. Fauci said.

What do the studies show?

Dr. Fauci presented findings from studies that came out of the United Kingdom showing between 79 percent and 88 percent real-world effectiveness for symptomatic disease and 96 percent preventing hospitalizations from the Delta variant. All three studies looked at individuals who had received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Since Moderna had similar effectiveness against the original strain of the covid-19 virus during clinical trials and uses the same method to trigger the body's immune response to help the body create the antibodies necessary to fight of the disease “You can make a quite reasonable assumption that data that are applicable to Pfizer are also applicable to Moderna,” Dr. Fauci said.

Johson & Johnson covers the Delta variant quite well

Likewise with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Dr. Fauci had some direct evidence and some inferred from its similarity to the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine which also uses a disabled adenovirus, a common group of viruses, to deliver the instructions to the body’s immune system to aid in inoculation. Clinical data showed that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be 92 percent effective against hospitalization caused by the Delta virus.

Those results were mirrored in another study looking at the antibodies induced by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which showed “it covered the Delta variants and other variants really effectively quite well.” Another paper confirmed again the antibody test data as well as showed durability of the protection provided of at least eight months.

Dr. Fauci says the data tells people to get vaccine

“The only conclusion one can reasonably come to from looking what I’ve told you over the last few minutes is please get vaccinated. It will protect you against the surging of the delta variant,” Dr. Fauci said.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, drove home the point of why it is so important to get vaccinated telling the press that over the past few months 99.5 percent of those who have died from covid-19 were unvaccinated. Dr. Fauci told All Things Considered that “where the level of vaccination is low, the level of infection is increasing.”

Study in Israel shows Pfizer’s effectiveness wanes

Citing findings from real-world data out of Israel, Pfizer and BioNTech said on Thursday that a booster shot may be necessary 6 to 12 months after a person has been fully vaccinated. The FDA and CDC were quick to respond that at this time no booster shot is needed. The agencies said they were prepared if such a situation presented itself and would take the decision if it were necessary.

Dr. Fauci addressed the concern over the findings in Israel when asked about it on All Things Considered. “If you look at the effect against just infection itself or mildly symptomatic infection, the levels that we are getting in other studies seem to be substantially higher than the Israeli level of 64%.”