Vaccines have "broken the chain" between COVID-19 and serious illness, with patients in the UK less likely to need hospital treatment if they catch the virus, according to the head of NHS Providers.
Chris Hopson told Sky News that while there was an increase in new cases due to the new Delta variant, which was first detected in India, the numbers weren't at a level where the NHS could become overwhelmed.
"They are increasing slowly," Hopson told Sky News.
"The levels are significantly lower than we have seen in previous waves."
Hopson earlier posted a series of tweets outlining his views regarding the vaccine and its effect on the new variant.
He said NHS trust leaders were seeing three different features with this wave.
Firstly, COVID-19 hospital admissions were lower; secondly, patients were younger; and thirdly, and most importantly, "there are very few who have had the double vaccination dose and then the two to three weeks of protection build-up afterwards [that are being hospitalised]".
"And that's why our chief executives are saying they do think that the link between COVID-19 and very high levels of hospitalisation and mortality that we have seen in the previous waves - that that link has been broken for this pattern of variants."
According to a UK government website, more than 40 million people have received the first dose and over 21 million people have had their second jab.
People over the age of 50 were prioritised and are all expected to be vaccinated by the end of July.
Hopson warned relaxing restrictions on June 21, when the UK is expected to come out of lockdown, could lead to more hospitalisations and the government needs to "balance the risks and benefits".