Infections prevented by COVID-19 vaccines in the UK has risen to 22 million as the number of deaths prevented as a result of vaccinations rises to 60,000, the latest official data released here on Thursday said.
Public Health England (PHE) said the estimated number of deaths prevented has increased significantly since the most recent estimates were published, with the estimated number of infections prevented doubling in just two weeks. It was previously estimated that up to July 9, around 37,000 deaths and 11,000,000 infections were prevented.
“These figures show the vaccine programme’s remarkable impact on saving lives and reducing the spread of the virus,” said Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist at PHE.
“As cases have increased, the true scale of protection from the vaccine programme has become clear. Everyone that has come forward for their vaccine has played a part in this vital effort. It remains vital that everyone gets two doses of the vaccine, to protect you and those around you from COVID-19,” he said.
The analysis, for data up to July 23, is based on modelling analysis from PHE and Cambridge University’s MRC Biostatistics Unit and the methods used to estimate deaths and infections prevented is based on direct and indirect effects of the vaccination programme.
The latest analysis comes as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that more than 70 per cent of adults in the country have now had both COVID-19 jabs and 88 per cent have had the first dose. He called on the younger age groups to come forward for their vaccines to “close that margin”.
The government plans to make the requirement of full vaccinations the basis for entry to nightclubs and other crowded venues in England. The full details of the plan are yet to be unveiled, but the rule is set to come into force at the end of September when an electronic NHS Covid Pass will be used as proof.
Young people who are within three months of turning 18 and about to enter university and those aged 12-17 who live with people who have a suppressed immune system can now also get a vaccine. The government has not ruled out plans to make vaccines compulsory for university students, saying the decision will be made by September when the new term begins.
August 16 is the date set for when fully vaccinated people no longer have to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Until then, the so-called “pingdemic” of alerts from the National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace system of a COVID positive contact continues to cause concern.
The number of self-isolation alerts sent by the NHS COVID-19 app in England and Wales rose to a new record of 689,313 in the week up to July 21, an increase of over 70,000 compared with the previous week.
Anyone alerted in this way, or “pinged” on the app, is advised – though not legally obliged – to self-isolate for 10 days. However, the government has said it is crucial to follow the alerts and issued a limited self-isolation exemption list for essential workers. The government plans to set up over 2,000 testing sites for these workers so that they are able to carry on working following a negative COVID test.
Meanwhile, after a week of falling daily coronavirus cases, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 rose on Wednesday, when 27,734 new daily cases were reported.
“The truth is when it comes to case numbers no one really knows where they are going to go next,” said Health Secretary Sajid Javid.