Hospital numbers 'not increasing significantly' in Delta variant hotspot

The Covid-19 vaccine appears to have "broken the chain" between catching coronavirus and becoming seriously ill, the chief executive of NHS Providers has said.Chris Hopson said the number of people in hospital with the Covid-19 variant first detected in India, also known as the Delta variant, was not increasing "very significantly".He said that many of those in hospital in Bolton - which has the highest number of cases of the Indian variant in England - were younger than in previous waves of the pandemic.

Mr Hopson added: "What we think we can start to say now, based on that experience, is that it does look as though the vaccines have broken the chain between catching Covid-19 and potentially being very, very seriously ill and potentially dying."There were very, very few people who have had those double jabs and had been able to have that build-up of protection after those jabs."Mr Hopson said in the most recent phase of the pandemic the number of people in hospital in Bolton with Covid-19 peaked at 50, compared to 170 in November and 150 in January and February."Infection rates have been increasing in a number of different places," Mr Hopson said."We know that the hospitalisations are increasing, the rates of people coming into hospital in those areas are rising. But they are not rising very significantly."

It is understood there are GPs in Bolton who have begun offering vaccines at a 28-day gap, in the face of pressure not to waste any doses.Some patients are believed to have been contacted by text message to say they are eligible for a second jab after four weeks, rather than the eight to 12 week gap advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).Comments on the NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Facebook page indicate 16 and 17-year-olds are being offered a vaccine.Under JCVI guidance, individuals aged 16 years and above with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality from Covid-19 were included in the top nine priority groups for a vaccine in phase one of the UK's rollout.