AROUND one in 20 people infected with the Delta variant of coronavirus were fully vaccinated and at least 14 days on from their second vaccine dose, according to new data.

The figures relate to cases in England since February this year, when the variant was first detected in the UK, but the pattern is likely to be extremely similar in Scotland.

The Delta variant, first identified in India, is now believed to be responsible for more than 90 per cent of Covid infections across the UK with 3,035 cases confirmed in Scotland to date - 1524 in the past week alone.

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A report by Public Health England found that there had been 33,206 known cases of Covid infection caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant in England between February 1 and June 7.

Nearly 29,000 have been detected since May 10 as a result of a switch to a faster genotyping technique.

The majority of the infections - 19,573 (59%) - had occurred in people who were unvaccinated, with 23% having had a single dose, and 5% (1,785 patients) having received their second vaccine dose 14 days or more before testing positive.

In total, 42 deaths were associated with the Delta variant but this partly reflects the fact that this is a lag indicator and the vast majority of cases were only picked up in the most recent 28-day period.

Of the 42 deaths, 23 occurred in people who were unvaccinated but there were also 12 in patients who had been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to testing positive for Covid.

The Herald: Source: Public Health England Source: Public Health England

However, experts stressed that this reflects the fact that the individuals most likely to have had both doses by June 7 - the elderly and those vulnerable due to health conditions - were also the most likely to become critically ill in the event of infection.

Epidemiologist Deepti Gurdasani tweeted: "Just to address confusion - 12 of 42 deaths among those doubly vaccinated does not indicate vaccines aren't effective.

"If they weren't effective, we'd expect almost all deaths to be among [the] fully vaccinated, given vulnerable groups have very high levels of complete vaccination."

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It came as the latest report on the epidemic produced for the Scottish Government found that children and more affluent people were more likely to become infected with the Delta variant compared to the previously dominant Alpha ('Kent') strain.

The Herald: Most 'S gene positive' cases are the Delta variant. Data for Scotland (Source: Modelling the Epidemic, Scottish Government)Most 'S gene positive' cases are the Delta variant. Data for Scotland (Source: Modelling the Epidemic, Scottish Government)

The 'Modelling the Epidemic" report noted "slight demographic differences" including a "greater proportion with the Delta variant in the 5-9 year age group" and "indications that a greater proportion of Delta variant cases are from the least deprived group".

It added: "Hospital admissions are few but increasing, and are now dominated by cases associated with the Delta variant."

The Herald: Source: Scottish Government Source: Scottish Government

The latest daily data showed an increase in the number of people in hospital with Covid in Scotland, up from 124 on Thursday to 132, although the number of patients in intensive care fell by one, to 13.

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Surveillance by the Office for National Statistics also indicates that the prevalence of the virus in Scotland is currently the highest in the UK, with an estimated one in 540 people infected in the week ending June 5.

That compares to one in 560 in England, one in 700 in Northern Ireland and one in 1,300 in Wales.

In Dundee, case rates have now soared to 272 per 100,000 with council leader John Alexander warning that the city would "likely and inevitably" remain at a higher lockdown level unless the spike is reversed.

The Herald: Cases are climbing rapidly in Dundee, which now has the highest incidence of the virus in Scotland Cases are climbing rapidly in Dundee, which now has the highest incidence of the virus in Scotland

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon said talks are ongoing between the four nations on "constrained" supplies of the Pfizer vaccine used for under-40s in a bid to "maximise the supply" from manufacturers.

Speaking after a meeting of the British-Irish Council, Ms Sturgeon said: "We know the Delta variant is allowing this virus to transmit more quickly and therefore we have to do everything possible to make sure that vaccination happens at a pace that can keep it under control.

"Across all four of the nations, vaccination is going extremely well, but we do know that we have, as we have at points in the past, we have periods coming up where some vaccine supply will be more constrained, and over the next few weeks that looks as if it will be Pfizer."