Professor Stephen Powis

NHS Chief Stephen Powis Claims the “Overwhelming Majority” of Covid ICU Patients are Unvaccinated. But Is He Using Out-of-Date Data From July?

Uh-oh. I’ve been ‘fact-checked’ again. This time by the oracles at a website called ‘Logically‘, which I can only assume was a name chosen ironically. The claim they are ‘fact-checking’ is “COVID-19 vaccines don’t work because most people in U.K. hospitals with the virus are vaccinated”, which is a bad start since it’s not a claim I make in the article in question, or indeed anywhere. In fact, in the article I state that on current data the vaccines appear to “protect people well against severe disease and death”, meaning the ‘fact check’ is aiming at a straw man that bears no relation to the piece.

Having stuffed her target full of straw, the author ‘Pallavi’ spends most of her ‘fact check’ wholly missing the target. Alleging that my article “fails to disclose all the details mentioned in the [UKHSA] report, thereby misrepresenting official data and promoting vaccine misinformation”, she points out that the UKHSA cautions against using the raw data to estimate vaccine effectiveness. Indeed it does, and in the article in question I do not use the raw data to estimate vaccine effectiveness. The article is not about vaccine effectiveness. It is responding to a claim in a Guardian article that “in hospital, COVID-19 has largely become a disease of the unvaccinated”. It is making the point that, according to official data, 71% of adult Covid hospital patients and 82% of Covid deaths in the month ending November 14th were in vaccinated people – which is indisputable, and the ‘fact check’ does not dispute it. The point was not to estimate vaccine effectiveness from these figures – to do that we’d need to take into account the proportions vaccinated and unvaccinated, at a minimum – but to counter the claim that “in hospital, COVID-19 has largely become a disease of the unvaccinated”.

In the course of supposedly refuting my errors the ‘fact check’ even quotes from “a recent report by the Official [sic] for National Statistics” which claims that “the age-adjusted risk of deaths involving COVID-19 between January and September 2021 was 32 times greater in unvaccinated people than fully vaccinated people”. This is the same ONS report that the U.K. Statistics Authority publicly criticised for being misleading in its use of statistics for making precisely that claim.

Pallavi writes that “the COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation”, and, libellously, refers to the Daily Sceptic as “a website that often propagates COVID-19 misinformation”. Hmm, unlike Logically, which publishes ‘fact checks’ that attack straw men and cite discredited reports.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times has added its authority to the Guardian‘s unsubstantiated claims about hospitals being deluged with unvaccinated Covid patients. It published an article today stating that intensive care beds are “filled with unvaccinated Covid patients”. The paper quotes Professor Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director of NHS England, saying: “Data shows that the overwhelming majority of people admitted to intensive care with Covid are not fully vaccinated. Since July one in four critical beds have been consistently occupied by a Covid patient, with the latest statistics available showing three quarters of them are unvaccinated.”

Get the Booster Vaccine or Lose the Freedom to Enjoy Christmas, Warns NHS Chief

Less than a week after Laura Dodsworth wrote a piece on the ‘nudges‘ involved in the Government’s threats of more restrictions, the NHS’s most senior doctor has warned Britons that our freedom to enjoy Christmas could be stripped from us if enough people don’t get a ‘booster’ Covid vaccine.

“The freedom we now all enjoy,” Professor Stephen Powis writes in the Sunday Telegraph, “is a direct result of the country’s willingness and desire to come forward for a Covid jab when it has been offered.” That very ‘freedom’ will be gone again if take-up doesn’t stay high.

Although the country once again finds itself at a crunch point, the NHS vaccination programme remains the strongest weapon in the armoury. Because we rolled out jabs so quickly, we are likely to see protection from the virus waning sooner than other countries. That means that without a booster, many people will find themselves more vulnerable to Covid, going into winter. So it’s vital that everyone gets their top-up jab as soon as they are eligible.

People will be contacted to book their jab six months after their second dose. And if for some reason you don’t receive an invite, you will be able to book directly through the national booking service after you become eligible.

We have to seize the moment, get our booster jab and protect ourselves as we go into what will no doubt be a tough winter, particularly as we are likely to see seasonal flu pose a risk to our health. And to maximise the impact of the vaccination programme we must all continue to act responsibly.

The more of us that come forward for our booster jab, and the more we keep our resolve in helping to limit the spread of infection, then the greater chance we all have of staying well.

So, when your time comes, take up the offer, book your booster and protect the freedom and Christmas that we have all earned and deserve to enjoy.

Worth reading in full.