Molenberghs points to the UK where despite a tremendously successful vaccination campaign hospitalisations are up. He links the rise to the presence of the Delta variant:
“It’s circulating mainly among communities with low vaccination levels. We must prepare for the impact of the circulation of this variant here.”
The biostatistician notes 65% of cases in the UK are Delta variant, while in Belgium the figure is only 1%.
“The variant entered Belgium on several occasions. Where that happened the virus quickly makes progress. In the UK it went from 1% of cases to 65% in two months”.
Molenberghs says all vaccines used in Belgium provide good protection against the new variant, but slightly less against the British variant (i.e. Kent or Alpha variant). It’s clear a second jab is necessary. Optimal protection only comes about some time after the second dose.”
The biostatistician notes that although Belgium is doing well, we’re not doing as well as many EU countries: “In Portugal there are 62 cases per 100,000 population over the last two weeks. In the UK the figure is 48. In Belgium it’s 252. As long as we’re heading in the right direction it shouldn’t be a problem though.”