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Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are falling fastest among those aged 80 and over, ONS data shows, suggesting the vaccination programme has had an impact on mortality.
There were 1,622 deaths for the 80+ age group in the week to 19 February, down from 5,300 four weeks previously – a fall of 69%. There were 3,017 deaths in the most recent week, according to the latest ONS figures, which are based on mentions of Covid-19 on death certificates.
For those aged 70-79, the reported drop was 65% over the same period, while the number of deaths in the 0-69 age group fell by 55%.
While deaths have been falling since late January as the UK’s lockdown began to have an impact, these discrepancies between age groups suggest the vaccine programme has also been an important factor in preventing Covid-19 mortality.
Deaths among the over-70s have accounted for 83% of all Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales, data from the ONS shows.
According to the latest weekly data from the NHS, 96% of people aged 70 or older had been given their first dose of the vaccine by 21 February.
However, London has consistently reported lower first-dose vaccination coverage than other regions. According to the latest weekly figures, 85% of people aged 70 or over in the capital were vaccinated, much lower than the national rate. In the south-west, which has the best coverage, 99% of the 70+ group had received a first dose of the vaccine.
At Monday’s No 10 press conference, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, cited data showing that a single dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine reduces risk of hospital admission in over-80s by more than 80%.
Efficacy 95% a week after the second shot. Pfizer says it is only 52% after the first dose but the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says this may rise to 90% after 21 days.
The UK has ordered 40m doses.
Doses Clinical trials involved two doses 21 days apart. The UK is stretching this to 12 weeks.
Efficacy 70.4% 14 days after receiving the second dose. May have up to 90% efficacy when given as a half dose followed by a full dose. No severe disease or hospitalisations in anyone who received the vaccine. There have been concerns it is less effective against the South African variant of the coronavirus.
The UK has ordered 100m doses.
Doses Two, four to 12 weeks apart
Efficacy Phase 3 trial results suggest 94.1%.
The UK has ordered 17m doses, to be delivered in March or April
Doses Two, 28 days apart
Efficacy Phase 3 trials suggest 89.3%.
60m doses ordered by the UK, with distribution expected principally in the second half of the year
Janssen (part of Johnson & Johnson)
Efficacy 72% in preventing mild to moderate cases in US trials but 66% efficacy observed in international trials. 85% efficacy against severe illness, and 100% protection against hospitalisation and death.
30m doses ordered by the UK
Doses: One, making it unique among Covid vaccines with phase 3 results so far
“The effectiveness of the vaccine on protecting people, and on reducing transmission, is critical to the roadmap [for lifting lockdown restrictions]”, Hancock said.
“The data that we’ve published today shows that the roadmap is achievable, because it shows that we will be able to break the link from cases through to hospitalisations and to deaths, and until now in the pandemic that link from cases through to hospitalisations and deaths has been unbreakable.”