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Blogger blunders as UK vaccinated UK not more protected against COVID

Australian blogger says UK data Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that vaccinated people are no better protected against death from COVID-19 than unvaccinated people.

The allegation is false. It is based on an erroneous comparison between vaccinated and unvaccinated COVID-19 deaths in England across all age groups.

It does not take into account the age differences between the two groups. Age-adjusted figures released by the ONS show that death rates from COVID-19 for unvaccinated people are far higher than for vaccinated people.

The complaint was made in a blog post from July 26 of Topher’s Fieldwho describes himself as “a strong advocate of less government and more freedom”.

The blog post read: “Data from the UK confirms that being bitten once, twice, three times, four… it doesn’t matter, you are still not protected from those who have not been bitten.

“In other words, there is no statistically significant protection offered by the jab,” Field wrote. The complaint is also made on its Facebook page.

Vaccination rates are published on the UK government’s COVID-19 data center here. Statistics on deaths by vaccination status in England are published by the ONS here.

Mr Field described the death statistics as ‘British data’, although health was a UK devolved issue and the data only covers deaths registered in England.

The experts said AAP Fact Check that Dr. Field’s analysis of the data was absurd, overly simplistic, and failed to account for the different age structures of vaccinated versus unvaccinated people.

“Vaccination rates have always been higher in older people and so any comparison between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups will inevitably compare two groups with very different age profiles and will therefore be almost meaningless and certainly worthless in establishing the effectiveness of the vaccination”, Colin Angussenior researcher at the University of Sheffield School of Health and Related ResearchTold AAP Fact Check in an email.

The vast majority of COVID-related deaths in England in the first half of 2022 were people aged 65 or over.

Dr Angus said a fairer way to compare the data was to use age-standardized mortality rates (ASMR), which correct for differences in the age structure of the groups being compared.

“A comparison of age-standardized death rates by vaccination status, using the same ONS data, shows that death rates from COVID-19 in unvaccinated people are significantly higher than in unvaccinated people. fully vaccinated people,” he said.

The ASMRs were published in the same dataset used to make the request, but were not mentioned in Mr. Field’s article.

The ASMR for unvaccinated people in England in January 2022 was 509.8 deaths per 100,000 people, according to figures from the ONS dataset (Table 1, line 266).

In comparison, the ASMR for “already vaccinated” people was about 4.6 times lower at 109.8 deaths per 100,000 people (Table 1, line 274).

In May 2022, the equivalent ASMRs were 77.6 unvaccinated COVID-related deaths per 100,000 people (Table 1, line 302) and 35.5 vaccinated COVID-related deaths per 100,000 people (Table 1, line 310) , meaning that unvaccinated people were still about twice as many. likely to have died with COVID-19 compared to vaccinated people.

Dr Angus said the narrowing of the gap in age-standardized COVID-19 death rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated people was partly due to the high infectivity of Omicron variants.

“The vast majority of vaccinated and unvaccinated people will now have been infected at least once, so the comparison of the two groups now looks more like a comparison of combination vaccine plus natural immunity versus natural immunity alone,” said he declared.

Experts say that claim is based on a misinterpretation of official UK data on deaths from COVID-19.

Professor David SpiegelhalterPresident of Winton Center for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, also said AAP Fact Check Mr Field’s claim was based on a misinterpretation of ONS figures.

“This is complete nonsense, and any sensible analysis of the data disproves it,” Professor Spiegelhalter said in an email.

“COVID risks are so age dependent that comparing those of similar age is critical.

“The majority of COVID deaths occur in older, more vulnerable people because they are older and more vulnerable, and while the vaccine is very effective in protecting against severe consequences, it is not perfect. Just like most car fatalities wear seat belts, they reduce the risk, but don’t eliminate it.

ONS mortality data manager Sarah Caul take from Twitter on July 14 to combat misleading claims that vaccinated people were more likely to die with COVID-19.

“The number and characteristics of those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated are different…we need to take this into account when looking at the number of deaths for each group,” Ms Caul tweeted.

“Using age-standardized mortality rates, which take into account the size and age structure of groups

The ONS said the risk of death from COVID-19 in England has been consistently lower for people who have received a third dose of vaccine or a booster compared to people who have not been vaccinated.

AAP Fact Check debunked similar claims people vaccinated in England had a higher risk of dying from COVID-19.

Other claims that vaccinated people were equally or more likely to die with COVID-19 have been verified. here, here and here.

The verdict

The claim that vaccinated people in the UK are no more protected against death from COVID-19 than unvaccinated people is false. It is based on an overly simplistic and misleading interpretation of official data.

The experts said AAP Fact Check any comparison of data must take into account structural age differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. Age-adjusted figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics show that vaccinated people were much less likely to have died with COVID-19 than unvaccinated people.

Fake – The request is incorrect.

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