The race between the Covid-19 vaccine and a third wave of the virus is ongoing, but there is cause for cautious optimism, government advisors said.
The experts’ comments come after Public Health England said the Delta variant, first identified in India, rose 79% in a week.
The surge across the UK is being driven by younger age groups, many of whom have now been invited to vaccinate as vaccination extends to anyone aged 18 and over.
Hospital cases have almost doubled, despite the fact that most patients in need of treatment have not received a vaccine.
Professor Adam Finn, who advises the government on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said a “third wave” of coronavirus infections was “definitely underway”.
The University of Bristol academician told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “It’s looking up, we may be a little optimistic that it’s not going up any faster, but it’s still going up, so this third wave is definitely on In progress.
“We can conclude that the race between the vaccine program, especially the second dose for the elderly, and the third wave of the Delta variant is well underway.”
Prof. Finn said the JCVI was still working on deciding whether to vaccinate children, but said efforts would not be an immediate priority if approved.
“Even if a decision were made to vaccinate children, it would not be appropriate now, here or anywhere else in Europe, to give our doses primarily to children as adults get sick, so vaccinating adults is clearly a priority right now,” he said.
Prof. Finn was asked if he was confident that we would beat the Delta variant with the current vaccination rate and he told Times Radio, “No, I am not confident, but I think there is reason to be optimistic.
“The latest ONS numbers continue to show an increase, but that increase has not accelerated quite as much as I feared last week.
“So the race is on. The earlier we get to the elderly, especially with second doses, the fewer hospital admissions we will see this time.
“This is the bottom line, it has grounded all of us in the past, and when we’ve managed to protect enough elderly people to avoid a huge wave of hospitalizations and deaths, things can go back to normal. ”
Dr. Mike Tildesley, epidemiologist and member of the SPI-M modeling group, said he was “cautiously hopeful” that the number of Covid-19 hospital admissions over the next few weeks will not be as high as it was in January.
He said those currently hospitalized tend to be a little younger and “a little less sick”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Right now we are seeing slightly younger people becoming infected and in fact the people who go to the hospital tend to be a little younger and therefore a little less sick, which is a good sign that even if they are we “When more people go to the hospital again, it is usually younger people who are more likely to make a successful recovery.
“I realize that I’m a little cautious here. All of these are cautiously good signs, but of course we need to keep an eye on this for the next few weeks so that we can give the government as much information as possible before the reopening on July 19th.
Meanwhile, giant jab clinics are open in London this weekend, including the Olympic Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Chelsea FC and Charlton Athletic FC, which will be hosting large pop-up clinics for residents, with smaller events taking place at local venues .
Officials are reportedly considering removing 10 days of self-isolation for people who have been double-vaccinated and come into contact with someone infected with Covid-19.
The Times reported that Health Secretary Matt Hancock will seek to replace quarantine with daily testing, but that the policy will not be approved until after Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, is satisfied with the results of a study of 40,000 people People.