There have been nearly 6,500 more deaths than usual in England and Wales from causes other than COVID-19 in the eight weeks since April 23rd, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
The weekly ONS mortality report shows that in the week ending June 17th 2022 there were 1,444 deaths registered above the five-year average, which is 15.4% above average. Of these, 264 involved COVID-19 and 161 were due to COVID-19 (where COVID-19 was recorded as the underlying cause of death on the death certificate), leaving 1,283 from underlying causes other than Covid. Added to the number of non-Covid excess deaths from the previous seven weeks gives a cumulative total of 6,466 deaths above average with an underlying cause other than COVID-19 registered since April 23rd 2022.
The chart below from the ONS depicts the data since the start of the pandemic, though note that the deaths involving COVID-19 in blue overstate the number of Covid deaths, particularly since the arrival of the Omicron variant, as they include those from a different underlying cause.
The spike in non-Covid excess deaths over the last two months coincides with the spring rollout of fourth doses to the over-75s, which began around the end of March.
To help visualise this, I have plotted the cumulative number of booster doses distributed to over-75s in England during the spring booster campaign (blue) and the cumulative number of non-Covid excess deaths in England and Wales (orange) since the week ending March 25th. The correlation is striking. Note that we would expect a lag between vaccine doses and deaths due to vaccine injuries both because death following an adverse event is not always immediate and because of death registration delays. The dip in deaths in the week ending June 3rd is owing to bank holidays affecting registrations.
The UKHSA has registered around 4 million booster doses distributed to over-75s since March 21st up to June 19th. If all the non-Covid excess deaths were in the over-75s and caused by the vaccines this would be a rate of around one death per 600 doses – though that is an upper limit as some of the non-Covid excess deaths are in under-75s (around 80% of the non-Covid excess deaths in May were in the over-75s and 20% in the under-75s) and not all will necessarily be due to vaccine injury. Some will be due to the problems accessing healthcare during the pandemic, which are ongoing.
If vaccine injuries are playing a significant part in the non-Covid deaths this spring we should see non-Covid mortality return to closer to normal levels over the next few weeks now that the spring booster campaign is winding down.
This post has been updated to use vaccine figures specific to the spring booster campaign.