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The Delta variant: a cautionary tale

We know from rising infection numbers and the government that the Delta variant (the variant first identified in India) is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the UK.

In case it will help other practices, we are sharing a cautionary tale from one of our member practices.

Last week the Practice Manager contacted us for help with a situation in which one of their team was contacted by test and trace and told that she had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for the Delta variant. The team member is double vaccinated with the second vaccine having been given 3 weeks ago. She was told to have a PCR test, which came back positive for the Delta variant. The team member and another member of her household (who is also double vaccinated) have now developed symptoms and are feeling very unwell but currently not so unwell that either needs hospitalisation.

Their practice is located between 2 surge testing areas but not actually in a surge testing area.

Test and Trace asked the team member for all her contacts (including contacts in the practice) and despite her telling them that she had worn appropriate PPE and there had been no breaches in their SOPs, test and trace said that all her contacts would have to self-isolate for 10 days. This is incorrect advice so we advised the Practice Manager to get in touch with their local PHE contact. Happily PHE confirmed that the advice from test and trace was wrong and following a risk assessment, only one other team member was required to self-isolate.

We are grateful to our member for allowing us to share their story with our members in case it helps another practice.

Points to note

  • You can still catch COVID-19 even if you’re double vaccinated.

  • It’s still really important to avoid ‘compliance fatigue’ and follow your SOPs.

  • It seems that in some areas, test and trace are unclear about the guidance for healthcare workers.

  • It’s a legal requirement to self-isolate if told to do so by test and trace so you can’t make a unilateral decision not to self-isolate, you will need to contact PHE first.

  • It’s helpful to have a risk assessment ready for use if this happens to you.

One step forward and two back? No it isn’t – the data tells us that double vaccinated people can still catch COVID-19. It also tells us that if you should be so unlucky as to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and become infected, then you are far less likely to become seriously ill or require hospitalisation if you’ve been double vaccinated.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with us via

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