EU-approved vaccines effective against Delta variant

Medicines regulator says two doses are protective against the Delta strain

The four Covid-19 vaccines approved by the EU offer protection against the Delta variant and other strains of the virus prevalent in Europe, the bloc’s medicines regulator said on Thursday.

The World Health Organisation has said that the highly infectious Delta variant, first detected in India, could be the dominant strain of the virus in Europe by August.

Marco Cavaleri, the head of vaccine strategy at the European Medicines Agency, said the EU body was "aware of concerns caused by the rapid spread of the Delta variant.”

"Right now it seems that the four vaccines approved in the European Union are protecting against all the strains circulating in Europe, including the Delta variant", he said

"Emerging data from real world evidence are showing that two doses of vaccines are protective against the Delta variant."

The Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson shots are approved for use in the bloc.

Mr Cavaleri cautioned that a number of variants had emerged in recent months and called on vaccine manufacturers to check that their products protected against new strains.

"Now there is the so-called Delta Plus variant, which is the Delta variant with an additional mutation in the spike protein, that is also important and we need to check that as well”, he said.

The WHO’s Europe director Hans Kluge said on Thursday that cases had risen in the region by 10 per cent in the past week after two months of decline.

“The three conditions for a new wave of excess hospitalizations and deaths before the autumn are therefore in place: new variants, deficit in vaccine uptake, increased social mixing”, he told reporters.

“There will be a new wave in the WHO European region unless we remain disciplined," he said, adding that it was even more important when there are fewer rules in place to follow. He also urged people to get vaccinated without hesitating.

The WHO’s Europe region is made up of 53 countries and territories, including some in Central Asia.

Around 63 per cent of people in the region are still waiting for their first shot, Mr Kluge said.

Updated: July 1st 2021, 3:18 PM