Health Minister Matt Hancock says the coronavirus version, which causes an increase in infections, is 40 percent more contagious than the Alpha version.
The Delta version of the coronavirus is estimated to be 40 percent more transmissible than the Alpha version, which caused a previous wave of infections in the UK, the British health minister said.
“People who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine should be equally protected from any variant,” he added.
“That figure, which is 40 percent more transferable, is really the last piece of advice I have,” Health Minister Matt Hancock told Sky News on Sunday.
The Delta version, first discovered in India, now dominates the UK, according to Public Health England.
The alpha version, originally found in the UK, forced Britain to blockade in January.
Hancock said the 40 percent figure came from the government body of scientific advisers, SAGE.
Concerns are growing that the release of the Delta version threatens to remove the virus from the government’s June 21 timetable.
Hancock admitted that the Delta version “makes it really difficult to calculate for June 21.”
“We will look at the data for another week and then judge,” he told the BBC on Sunday, stressing that the government was “absolutely open” to delaying the lifting of restrictions.
The Public Health England said last month that research had shown that double vaccination was just as effective against both the Alpha and Delta versions.
“The best scientific advice I have received at this stage is that after one stroke it is not very effective against the new Delta version, but after two strokes it is,” Hancock told the BBC.
So far, hospitalizations have been “extensive,” and very few have been hospitalized after receiving two doses of the vaccine.
The UK has so far given two doses to more than 27 million people, more than 50 per cent of adults, while more than 40 million have had one dose.
Hancock said the government is “accepting clinical advice” on whether to extend the immunization program to children over the age of 12, who are thought to play a major role in spreading the virus. But it will not be necessary, he added.