Covid-19 variants accounted for more than 2,000 hospital inpatient admissions in England between February and mid-May, new data shows.
The Kent strain was responsible for the majority of hospital stays and cases recorded from February 1 to May 18 this year, according to figures published by Public Health England (PHE).
Some 132,082 cases of the B117 mutation were detected over that period, of which 5,238 (4%) resulted in a visit to a hospital emergency department, while 2,011 (1.5%) required an overnight inpatient admission.
At least 1,569 patients died with the strain – which first emerged in Kent in late 2020 – over the same period.
The Indian variant was responsible for the second-highest number of cases over the same period, with 2,889 detected, according to the data.
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Of those, 104 (3.6%) resulted in a visit to a hospital emergency department, while patients in 31 cases (1.1%) were admitted to hospital as an inpatient and six died.
The data comes as a separate PHE study found both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were highly effective against the Indian strain after a second dose.
However, the same study found they were only 33% effective three weeks after the first dose.
The study, which took place between April 5 and May 16, found that the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant two weeks after the second dose, compared with 93% effectiveness against the Kent strain.
Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca jab was 60% effective, compared with 66% against the Kent variant over the same period.
Some 2,454 “non-variant” Covid-19 cases were recorded between February 1 and May 18, of which 79 resulted in an accident and emergency visit, 26 required an overnight hospital admission and 69 died.
Meanwhile, the South African variant accounted for 665 cases, with patients in 31 cases (4.7%) taken to a hospital emergency department and 11 admitted as inpatients.
Twelve people with the B1351 mutation (South African variant) died, the data showed.
In total, variants accounted for 2,059 hospital inpatient admissions and 1,596 deaths.