PHE analysis suggests the UK COVID-19 vaccination programme has so far prevented thousands of deaths in those aged 60 and above.
Public Health England (PHE) analysis indicates that the COVID-19 vaccination programme prevented 10,400 deaths in those aged 60 and older in England up to the end of March, an additional 4,300 since the previous update.
From 8 December 2020 to the end of March 2021, over 15 million vaccine doses were given to adults aged 60 and over. The analysis compared the observed number of deaths with the number of deaths that would have been expected if the vaccine hadn’t been given during this time period. To allow for the time taken to develop an immune response to vaccination, the analysis assumed it would take 31 days before the effect of vaccination on deaths is observed.
Using this method, PHE estimates that around 10,400 deaths were prevented to the end of March – 9,100 in those aged 80 and over, 1,200 in those aged 70 to 79 and 100 in those aged 60 to 69.
Expected deaths with coronavirus (COVID-19) were estimated using real-world data on how effective the vaccines are at preventing death and vaccine uptake.
This analysis takes into account the direct effects of vaccines, there is now increasing evidence that vaccines help to reduce transmission, therefore it is likely that an even higher number of deaths will have been prevented by the vaccination programme.
Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, said:
Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE Head of Immunisation, said:
The true value of these vaccines may also be in terms of future deaths avoided, should there be resurgence of COVID-19 in the UK in the future. Older age presents the single greatest risk of death from COVID-19 – prioritisation of the COVID-19 vaccination programme has focused primarily on an aged-based strategy in order to prevent the greatest loss of life possible.