The Delta variant of COVID-19 has killed just over 100 people in the UK — but 50 of those were fully-vaccinated.
The figures represent a mortality rate of just 0.13 per cent — less than a twentieth of the overall 2.88 per cent for UK cases since the start of the pandemic.
But worryingly, 50 of those who died had been given both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, although all of those were in the over-50 age group which accounts for 99 per cent of deaths in the UK.
"Does this mean the vaccines are ineffective? Far from it," statisticians David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters wrote for The Observer on Sunday. "It's what we would expect from an effective but imperfect vaccine".
Fears of the Delta variant, thought to be more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19, prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government to postpone the final lifting of lockdown restrictions by four weeks from June 21 to July 19, to buy time to get all over-40s double-vaccinated.
The latest PHE data published on Monday afternoon showed just three deaths nationwide — despite new infections soaring by almost 70 per cent week-on-week. Almost 23,000 new cases were recorded on Sunday. Another ray of hope was that hospital admissions had only risen by ten per cent over the past week, with 227 new patients admitted with the virus on Sunday.