People who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 accounted for just 1% of all deaths involving coronavirus in England in the first seven months of this year, according to new figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Most of those deaths were of people who were infected before they received both jabs or had tested positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of their second dose, the analysis showed.
The ONS data also showed people who received two vaccinations were at a consistently lower risk of death from Covid-19 than those who had been given one vaccination or were unvaccinated.
Of the 51,281 deaths involving Covid-19 that took place in England between January 2 and July 2, 640 (1.2%) were people who had received both vaccine doses. This includes people who had been infected before they were vaccinated.
The figures show 458 deaths (0.8%) were people who died at least 21 days after their second dose and just 256 deaths (0.5%) were people who were both fully vaccinated and who had their first positive PCR test at least 14 days after their second dose.
The ONS said some deaths were to be expected in vaccinated individuals, as the number of people who have received both doses is high and no vaccine is 100% effective.
Detailed data on 252 of the 256 people who died after having received both jabs and who first tested positive at least 14 days after the second dose – what the ONS describes as ‘breakthrough’ deaths – showed just over three-quarters (76.6%) occurred in clinically extremely vulnerable patients – a slightly higher proportion than for other Covid-19 deaths (74.5%) and non-Covid-19 deaths (69.7%)
Some 61.1% of breakthrough deaths occurred in men, which is higher than for other deaths involving Covid-19 (52.2%) and non-Covid-19 deaths (48.5%).
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-19 despite them being fully vaccinated.
‘However, we’ve also found that the risk of a death involving Covid-19 is much lower among people who are fully vaccinated than those who are unvaccinated.’
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS Covid vaccination programme, said: ‘The NHS Covid vaccination programme has been incredibly successful thanks to the non-stop efforts of staff and volunteers across the country who have now delivered more than 77 million vaccinations, with over eight in 10 adults having had both doses, giving them maximum protection against coronavirus.
‘This analysis is another reminder of how effective the vaccine is at preventing serious illness and death from Covid-19, so, if you are yet to receive your life-saving vaccine, I urge you to come forward today and protect yourself, your friends and your loved ones.’