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Just one in 200 Covid deaths during first half of 2021 occurred among the fully vaccinated

Just one in 200 Covid deaths during first half of 2021 occurred among the fully vaccinated, official data reveals

  • ONS looked at 51,281 Covid fatalities that occurred between January 2 and July 2
  • Identified 256 ‘breakthrough deaths’ who had maximum immunity from the jabs 
  • Report found 76% of these were extremely vulnerable and had average age of 84


Fully-vaccinated people made up just one in 200 Covid deaths in England in the first half of this year, official data shows.  

The Office for National Statistics identified 256 ‘breakthrough deaths’ among the 51,281 Covid fatalities that occurred between January 2 and July 2.

More than 76 per cent of these patients were clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus, and had underlying conditions or weak immune systems.

The average age of a ‘breakthrough death’ — when a person still contracted and succumbed to Covid despite having maximum immunity from two jabs — was 84.

Today’s ONS report is the latest to highlight the immense impact the vaccines are having on reducing coronavirus deaths.

However, most of the fatalities in the six months of the research occurred at the height of the second wave, before the vaccines had become widely available.

The majority of elderly and vulnerable Britons were not fully vaccinated until spring, which skews the findings.  

More recently, fully vaccinated people have started to make up a greater proportion of Covid deaths, but this is due to how successful uptake of the jabs has been.

More than 90 per cent of at-risk people are fully-jabbed, and because no vaccine is perfect, a small number continue to die. 

The Office for National Statistics looked at 51,281 Covid fatalities that occurred between January 2 and July 2 in England. These were broken down by vaccination status, which revealed 458  cases died 21 days after their second dose. Further analysis determined that only 256 of these had built up maximum immunity and still succumbed to the virus

A separate report by Public Health England last week showed Britons were up to ten times more likely to die from Covid if they were unvaccinated than if they had received both jabs. The above graph shows the Covid death rate among people who had not been jabbed (red) compared to those who had received both doses (blue). The data is for August only and England. The rate for Covid deaths was worked out by dividing the total number of vaccinated and unvaccinated people who died with the virus by the total number of people in each category in the population in England

A separate report by Public Health England last week showed Britons were up to ten times more likely to die from Covid if they were unvaccinated than if they had received both jabs. The above graph shows the Covid death rate among people who had not been jabbed (red) compared to those who had received both doses (blue). The data is for August only and England. The rate for Covid deaths was worked out by dividing the total number of vaccinated and unvaccinated people who died with the virus by the total number of people in each category in the population in England

It found that unvaccinated people were up to five times more likely to be hospitalised with Covid in August compared to those who had got both doses. The above graph shows the Covid hospitalisation rate among the unvaccinated (red) compared to the vaccinated (blue). The rate for Covid hospitalisation was worked out by dividing the total number of vaccinated and unvaccinated people who were admitted to hospital with the virus by the total number of people in each category in the population in England

It found that unvaccinated people were up to five times more likely to be hospitalised with Covid in August compared to those who had got both doses. The above graph shows the Covid hospitalisation rate among the unvaccinated (red) compared to the vaccinated (blue). The rate for Covid hospitalisation was worked out by dividing the total number of vaccinated and unvaccinated people who were admitted to hospital with the virus by the total number of people in each category in the population in England

Julie Stanborough, deputy director of health and life events at the ONS said: ‘Our new analysis shows that, sadly, there have been deaths of people involving Covid-19 despite them being fully vaccinated.

‘However, we’ve also found that the risk of a death involving Covid-19 is much lower among people who are fully vaccinated than those who are unvaccinated or have only received one dose. 

‘This shows the effectiveness of the vaccines in giving a high degree of protection against severe illness and death.’  

The ONS also added that 13 per cent of the ‘breakthrough deaths’ occurred in people were who were immunosuppressed.

Studies have shown that these people may have struggled to mount a strong immune response after the standard two dose vaccine regimen.  

For this reason, about 500,000 immunosuppressed people have been invited for a booster third dose.

A wider booster programme is still to be announced this week but is expected to include the very elderly and patients with serious health issues. 

But the Government’s vaccine advisory panel believes the jabs are still offering high protection to the vast majority of the population.  

There are currently about 140 daily Covid deaths across the UK now compared to the more than 1,000 in January – the last time infections were running this high. 

A mixture of the Delta variant and much more testing being carried out has meant that infection numbers are much higher now than last autumn. 

The mutant Delta strain is thought to be at least twice as virulent as the original Covid virus and can infect vaccinated people more easily. 

There are about 36,000 new UK infections every day now compared to just 3,000 in early September 2020. 

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