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Less than 1% of COVID-19 related deaths among fully vaccinated

Rod Tucker
14 September, 2021  

An analysis of all COVID-19-related deaths in England between the 2nd of January and July 2021, has been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The data include a breakdown of all recorded deaths analysed by vaccination status. Clearly, a certain number of both infections and deaths among those who have been vaccinated, referred to as breakthrough infections, are likely to occur simply because the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to many millions of people and none can be considered as 100 per cent effective.

The risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is, according to the ONS infection survey, highest within the first 21 days after receipt of the primer vaccine dose. The bulletin from the ONS examines deaths in relation to vaccination status and uses age-standardised mortality rates, which adjusts for differences in the population age distribution.

Findings

There were a total of 640 deaths in those who had received two COVID-19 vaccines; 182 within 21 days of their second vaccine dose and 458, 21 days after their second dose. Together, both groups represent 1.2% of all COVID-19 related deaths although only 0.8% (458/51,281) of all deaths occurred 21 days after the second vaccine dose. In other words, less than 1% of all COVID-19 related deaths occurred in those who were fully vaccinated. However, it is worth noting that the more infectious delta variant only became the dominant strain, according to the ONS, since the end of May 2021 and hopefully future bulletins will report upon any associated mortality changes.

In cases where the date of infection was known, among those who had received two vaccinations, 47.5% became infected 14 or more days after the second dose, leading to 256 deaths.

Characteristics of individuals with breakthrough deaths

Among the 256 deaths occurring 14 or more days after infection, linked data, which provides demographic and clinical information was available for 252 individuals. The information showed that the average age of death among these fully vaccinated individuals was 84 years. Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) were male and 76.6% were described as clinically vulnerable and 13.1% of deaths occurred among immunocompromised patients.

The latest set of ONS data clearly shows that COVID-19 related deaths are significantly reduced due to vaccination but also serves as a reminder that deaths will still occur, especially among the clinically vulnerable and immunocompromised, highlighting the need for booster doses.

Source

ONS Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 2 January and 2 July 2021