Delta variant increasingly common in Rotterdam, Dutch virologist says
The delta variant of the coronavirus is more present in the Rotterdam region than elsewhere in the Netherlands, virologist Marion Koopmans said. "We expect that to continue, so it is important that the basic measures remain in place," Erasmus MC virologist said on Radio Rijnmond.
According to Koopmans, the delta variant will virtually supplant the previous variants of the coronavirus. "You see there that this variant is more contagious, but you also start noticing that in even more places," said Koopmans.
The RIVM said on Tuesday it was concerned that an increase in summer travel along with a wide percentage of the population not fully vaccinated in August could lead to a fourth wave of infections in September. It too expects the delta variant to be the cause of problems after the summer months.
"We expect the same in the Netherlands, just as we saw last year around Christmas when the British [alpha] variant was there. You saw then how difficult it is to keep something like that out of the door," she explained.
"You can see that it is increasing. In different regions, you can already see that it is more common, also in the Rotterdam region. We expect that to continue and we have to keep a close eye on that."
Studies showed that the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine offers good protection against the delta variant after two shots. That has not yet been fjirmly confirmed for other Covid-19 jabs. Erasmus MC and three other Dutch hospitals are researching whether it can be useful to administer a booster shot to people who received the Janssen Vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, even from another vaccine manufacturer.
"In England, they do not use the Janssen vaccine. We expect that the protection of this vaccine is comparable, but whether that is also the case is closely monitored. If necessary, it can be checked whether an extra dose is needed, but it doesn't look like that at the moment," said Koopmans.
Koopmans called upcoming lockdown relaxations a tense moment. "It is going well and we see that, but that is mainly because many people are being vaccinated. We see the figures falling on all fronts and that gives more breathing space."
"But that space can also be wasted. We will not notice that immediately in the summer, but later. It is important that we continue to be aware of that," the virologist warned.