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Covid-19: Is vaccination roll out reducing cases and deaths in the UK?

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 19 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n506

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  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

Death rates among people over 80 appear to be falling faster than other age groups, so are we starting to see the effect of the vaccination programme? Jacqui Wise looks at what we know

Are deaths falling in groups of people who have been vaccinated?

The number of deaths in the UK within 28 days of a positive covid-19 test has been steadily falling since mid-January. An analysis carried out by the Guardian, using data from the official government dashboard, shows that from 24 January to 12 February deaths from coronavirus in England among those over 80 fell by 62%.1 This compares with a drop of 47% among people aged between 20 and 64 and 51% among those aged 65 to 79.

Further evidence comes from Scotland which has seen deaths involving covid-19 falling in all locations, with the fastest decrease in care homes. In the three weeks to 14 February deaths in care homes fell by 62% to a level last seen around the end of October. Older residents in care homes were treated as the top priority when the vaccination programme began. The report from the National Records of Scotland shows that the number of deaths in the 85 and over age group has fallen by 45%—more steeply than younger age groups. There are now fewer deaths in this age group than in the 75-84 age group for the first time since mid-November.2

Is this because of the vaccination programme?

By 10 January, more than a third (34.6%) of people aged 80 and over in …

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