However, the jump in effectiveness from one dose to two highlighted the need for people to have two vaccine doses for maximum protection.
Both the AstraZeneca and the Pfizer vaccine were found to be 33 percent effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant three weeks after an initial first dose had been administered, according to the PHE study.
While both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have shown positive results against symptomatic disease, the Government also expects the vaccines will provide even higher protection against hospitalisation and death due to the variant.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “This study provides reassurance that two doses of either vaccine offer high levels of protection against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant.
“We expect the vaccines to be even more effective at preventing hospitalisation and death, so it is vital to get both doses to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the results of the PHE study as “groundbreaking”, while Minister for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi said the data was “astounding”.