Washington, July 2: US top coronavirus adviser Dr Anthony Fauci on Thursday (local time) said that most COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the rapidly spreading Delta variant and reiterated his request for people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Speaking at a press briefing along with the White House COVID-19 response team and public health officials, Fauci said: "...From Public Health England, from June 14, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 96 per cent effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant after two doses, and the AZ (AstraZeneca) was 92 per cent effective against hospitalization after two doses." AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine 92% Effective Against Delta Variant: Data.

"Since these vaccines -- the AZ and the J&J (Johnson & Johnson) are based on very similar platforms, one could anticipate and make a reasonable assumption that the results against the Delta variant would be at least similar, perhaps even better. We are now looking at neutralization data, and soon we will have more firm data which we will make available to you as soon as it occurs," he mentioned while speaking on the J&J single-dose vaccine.

Stressing that the science is clear, Fauci said that the best way to protect an individual against the virus and the variants is to be fully vaccinated. "It works. It's free. It's safe. It's easy. And it's convenient," he added.

Regarding full approval of the COVID-19 vaccines by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the top US health expert exuded confidence that it will happen soon, adding that "it would really be a most unusual situation not to see this get full approval".

He also said that the US can still celebrate the July 4 national holiday if people are fully vaccinated and protected against the virus.

Meanwhile, Rochelle Walensky, the Director of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that the Delta variant is likely to eclipse the Alpha variant, first identified in the UK, in coming weeks.

"An estimated 25 percent of all reported SARS-CoV-2 sequences nationwide are the Delta variant. And in some regions of the country, nearly one in two sequences is the Delta variant," she said.

In tandem with Fauci's statements, Walensky said that all US-authorised vaccines provide protection against the circulating variants in the country, including Delta.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said that 80 million COVID-19 vaccines have been shared with 46 countries, the African Union, and CARICOM through a combination of bilateral sharing and sharing through COVAX.

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