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Covid deaths rare among fully vaccinated - ONS

Added On : 15th September 2021

Fully vaccinated people are much less likely to die with Covid-19 than those who aren't, or have had only one dose, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.


Fully vaccinated people are much less likely to die with Covid-19 than those who aren't, or have had only one dose, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Out of more than 51,000 Covid deaths in England between January and July 2021, only 256 occurred after two doses.

They were mostly people at very high risk from illness from Covid-19.

The figures show the high degree of protection from the vaccines against illness and death, the ONS said.

Some deaths after vaccination were always expected because vaccines are not 100% effective, and it takes a couple of weeks after your second dose to build the fullest protection.

Of the 51,281 deaths involving Covid registered in England between 2 January and 2 July 2021:

  • 640 (1.2%) were people who had received both vaccine doses
  • This total includes people who had been infected before they were vaccinated
  • Some 458 deaths (0.8%) were people who died at least 21 days after their second dose
  • Just 256 deaths (0.5%) were people who were both fully vaccinated and who had their first positive PCR test at least 14 days after their second dose

"Breakthrough" deaths - occurring at least two weeks after the second jab along with a first positive PCR Covid test - tend to happen in the most vulnerable, men and those with weakened immune systems, with the average age being 84.

But overall numbers were very small - they accounted for only 0.5% of all deaths from Covid-19 over the first six months of the year.

Julie Stanborough, from 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."

Among those who died after two doses, 13% were immunocompromised, 61% were male and more than 75% were clinically extremely vulnerable.

In the UK, 80% of people aged 16 and over have had two doses and nearly 90% have had one dose.

Since vaccinations were offered to priority, high-risk groups first - as advised by the UK's vaccine advisory body - comparing the number of deaths in vaccinated and unvaccinated groups over time is not useful.

As more and more people are vaccinated, the numbers of fully vaccinated people infected with Covid who then die from it will also grow - although Covid deaths are much lower now than they were before vaccines.

By BBC Health News

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