Fully-vaccinated people made up just one in 200 Covid deaths in England in the first half of this year, official data revealed today.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) 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 caught 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 have already had on reducing coronavirus deaths.
However, most of the fatalities in the six months of the research occurred during 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 tested positive at least 14 days after their second dose
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
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 despite them being fully vaccinated.
‘However, we’ve also found that the risk of a death involving Covid 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.’
A ‘breakthrough death’ was defined as someone who had received both vaccine doses and had a first positive PCR test at least 14 days after the second dose.
Today’s ONS report is the latest to highlight the immense impact the vaccines have already had on reducing coronavirus deaths. However, most of the fatalities in the six months of the research occurred during the height of the second wave, shown in the dark blue line in winter
The majority of elderly and vulnerable Britons were not fully vaccinated until spring, when the rollout then began to open to younger and less at-risk groups
UK scraps £1.2bn deal with French vaccine-maker to supply 190m Covid jabs due to ‘breach of obligations’
French vaccine company Valneva revealed today the British government had ended their Covid jab supply agreement due to a ‘breach of obligations’.
The biotech firm has been manufacturing the vaccine at its plant in Livingston, West Lothian, which Boris Johnson visited in January.
Some 100million doses of the vaccine were put on order after the UK increased its request by 40million back in February. The Government had the option of ordering an additional 90million doses to be supplied between 2023 and 2025.
But No10 has now terminated its £1.2billion agreement over allegations of a breach of the supply agreement, which the firm ‘strenuously’ denies.
In a statement, Valneva said: ‘Valneva SE, a specialty vaccine company, today announced it has received a termination notice from the UK Government (HMG) in relation to the Supply Agreement for its Covid vaccine candidate, VLA2001.
‘The contract provides HMG with the right to terminate.
‘HMG has alleged the company is in breach of its obligations under the supply agreement, but the company strenuously denies this.’
Neither party explained the nature of the breach.
MailOnline has approached both Valneva and the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.
This was done to differentiate between people who caught Covid sometime during their dosing regimen but were not given the full time to develop immunity.
Overall, the ONS found that there were 458 deaths among fully vaccinated people 28 days after their second dose.
But further analysis found only 256 of these had tested positive a fortnight after receiving the second injection.
Those who tested positive before that point will not have developed maximum protection from the jabs.
The ONS said 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.
But thanks to the vaccines, Public Health England believes unvaccinated people are still up to five times more likely to be hospitalised if they catch the virus than the double-jabbed.
In new data published last week, the agency looked at admission rates among the two groups for the month of July.
It found that for 60 to 69-year-olds that had not got the vaccine, the rate was 94 hospitalisations per 100,000 people, compared to just 19.1 among the vaccinated.
People in their fifties were four times less likely to be admitted if they are jabbed, with a hospitalisation rate of 17 in the fully jabbed compared to 80 in the unvaccinated.
The vaccines even appear to be offering the most elderly extremely high protection, with over-70s also at a threefold lower risk of needing hospital care.
Findings were even more stark when it came to deaths. Unvaccinated people were up to ten times more likely to die from Covid compared to the double-dosed.
But protection against infection from the jabs wanes over time, the figures suggest, with vaccinated people in some age groups just as likely to catch the virus as the unvaccinated.