UKHSA

More Reasons to Doubt the Covid Vaccines Really Deliver 90% Protection Against Death

The UKHSA’s latest vaccine surveillance report includes this table on page 11:

Fig 1

In essence, it claims ongoing efficacy against death from COVID-19 at about 88% following three vaccinations for the over 50 year-olds. Does this mean that in the absence of the vaccines we would expect deaths of the triple-vaccinated to be 8.3 times higher than it has been? Let’s assemble some data from Government sources and see if this can really be true.

Up until week 13 2022, the UKHSA used to report deaths from Covid by age and vaccine status. Fig 2 reproduces this last data table. The absolute numbers may have changed in the five weeks since then but the relative rates of death in the various groups had been fairly stable for the weeks prior to this and I suspect they still are.

Daily U.K. Covid Stats Axed and Moved to Twice a Week as Reporting Winds Down

The U.K.’s daily Covid statistics were axed on Monday as the country moves forward in the pandemic. MailOnline has more.

The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will now only publish Britain-wide updates twice a week, on Monday and Thursday.

It follows pressure from Tory MPs and experts who warned the case numbers became increasingly unreliable after free Covid tests were stopped for the majority of Britons. They called for the daily figures to be ditched as the final part of the ‘living with Covid’ strategy.

The UKHSA will still publish daily England figures but headline U.K. numbers – used throughout the pandemic to remind public of situation – will be affected.

It comes as the UK today logged 26,280 new Covid cases in the last three days, the equivalent of around 8,700 each day on average, and 212 deaths, roughly 70 per day. 

Ministers stopped publishing the figures on weekends following ‘Freedom Day’, meaning the Government dashboard update on Monday now also includes data for Saturday and Sunday.

The Government is relying on the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) weekly infection survey, which uses random swabbing, to get a read on the virus’ true trajectory. It also reported a drop last week.

Meanwhile, latest Covid hospital data shows there were 992 admissions for the virus on May 3rd, down nearly a fifth on the previous week.

Daily hospitalisations have now fallen for four weeks in a row – despite NHS leaders calling for masks and outdoor mixing to return at the start of April.

The move to scale-back the U.K. figures was prompted by Public Health Scotland, where the national Covid dashboard will only be update on Mondays and Thursdays. From June, it will move to weekly updates. 

England should follow suit.

Worth reading in full.

Vaccinated Hospitalised for Non-Covid Reasons at FIVE Times the Rate of the Unvaccinated, U.K. Government Data Show

Over the past 15 months we’ve had a barrage of statistics presented to us shouting about how great the vaccines are at preventing hospitalisation from (or with) Covid. However, these statistics have been light on detail on how they were calculated and we’ve not seen much sight at all of the raw data that the statistics were based upon.

Until now. In April, a paper was published by the UKHSA (currently in pre-print, which means that it hasn’t yet undergone the usual peer-review process) on its statistical analysis of a selection of hospitalisation data by vaccination status. The intent of this paper was to support its statements that the vaccines prevent hospitalisation. However, the paper also includes the raw data upon which the UKHSA statistics were derived, and these data tell a very different story to that presented by the UKHSA. The data show:

  • Far higher accident and emergency admission rates for reasons other than Covid in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated.
  • Much higher rates of hospitalisation due to non-Covid acute respiratory illness in the vaccinated.
  • Even higher A&E admissions and hospitalisations in the double-vaccinated (not boosted).
  • Even where the data suggest that the vaccines offer some protection (the risk of admission to intensive care resulting from Covid infection) the results look like they might be an artefact created by the assumptions used by the UKHSA.

Covid Vaccines Impair Immune Response to Infection, U.S. Government Study Shows

A pre-print study (not yet peer-reviewed) by U.S. Government researchers shows vaccinated people produce a less comprehensive immune system response following SARS-CoV-2 infection than unvaccinated people.

The researchers examined data from the Moderna Covid vaccine trial and found that, compared to unvaccinated controls, vaccinated participants produced far fewer N-antibodies. These are antibodies against the nucleocapsid protein inside the virus particle, in contrast to S-antibodies against the spike protein that the vaccines target. N-antibodies were detected in 40% (21 of 52) of infected vaccine recipients versus 93% (605 of 648) of placebo recipients. This means those infected after being vaccinated produced N-antibodies at less than half the rate of the unvaccinated.

The researchers found that N-seroconversion (producing N-antibodies following infection) was more likely for infections with higher viral loads. So they checked to see if the difference was due to the vaccinated having milder infections with lower viral loads owing to the vaccine. They found that it wasn’t: for the same viral load the unvaccinated were around 14 times (13.67, 95% confidence interval 5.17-36.16) more likely to have detectable N-antibodies following infection than the vaccinated. Look at the contrasting curves below: the yellow unvaccinated curve is much higher than the blue vaccinated curve, showing that for any given viral load (x-axis) the probability of detecting N-antibodies following infection (y-axis) is much lower for vaccinated than unvaccinated.

U.K. Covid Cases Plunge Another 40% and Dip Below 20,000 For First Time Since Last June

Britain’s Covid cases have reached their lowest daily total since June 2021, official data showed today. MailOnline has more.

Just 19,482 new positive tests were recorded by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) over the last 24 hours, down 40% on the 32,608 recorded last Thursday.

It is the lowest daily figure recorded since June 27th, when 14,876 official cases were recorded. But the metric has become much less reliable now that free tests have been scrapped for the majority of Brits.

Despite the fall in cases, a recording backlog saw the number of deaths recorded today jump by 85% in a week to 646. Fatalities have been fluctuating daily because of delays in reporting.

The number of people dying within 28 days of a positive test on average has been falling week-on-week for the last four days.

Experts have warned the constant stream of daily figures are now almost meaningless because they rely on people coming forward for tests, which has reduced massively since the end of free testing.

There is now clamour among many scientists for their publication to be scrapped entirely.

Separate UKHSA figures today showed Covid hospital admissions fell last week from 19.94 to 16.17 per 100,000 in England.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: The U.K. recorded fewer than 20,000 cases for the second day in a row on April 22nd, according to MailOnline.

The Worrying Signals Hidden in the UKHSA Data on Vaccination During Pregnancy

The UKHSA might have stopped including information on infections, hospitalisations and deaths by vaccination status in its Vaccine Surveillance Reports, but that doesn’t mean that they’re now devoid of all value. For example, they have for some months included data on the impact of the vaccines on certain aspects of pregnancy, and these data deserve some analysis.

To me, these reports have only served to illustrate the difference between prospective studies and post hoc analysis – in prospective studies it is necessary to state the aspects of the data that will be explored before you know what the results are going to be, whereas in post hoc analysis you have more freedoms to choose the aspects of the data that fit your needs (and ignore those that don’t). Thus it is of no surprise that the data selected by the UKHSA on the impact of the Covid vaccinations on pregnancy have shown there to be no significant effect. Of course, you might find that even with post hoc analysis it sometimes happens that the data that you first thought supported your case later turn out to be less supportive than you imagined, requiring the invention of reasons to stop reporting the data (this recently appears to have happened in both the UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance Report and the Zoe Symptom Tracker study). There’s now evidence that suggests the detail in the pregnancy outcomes data might also be showing inconvenient data (thanks to analysis by I Numero on Substack in this and subsequent posts).

Are Vaccines Driving the Omicron Wave?

Among the more reliable guides to the real prevalence of COVID-19 are the data collected on antibodies acquired following infection (measured as N-antibody levels, in contrast to S-antibody levels, which are acquired from both infection and vaccination).

Below is the latest graph from the UKHSA showing how antibody levels in blood donors in England have changed since autumn 2020.

From this and earlier UKHSA/PHE reports we can infer that the first wave infected around 5.7% of the population (though data from this period is mixed, with some showing up to 8.3%), the Alpha wave infected around 9.9% (perhaps a bit less if you use a higher first wave estimate – either way the first two waves together infected around 16%), the Delta wave infected around 8% and the Omicron wave has infected around 21.4% (so far). On these data, around 45% of the country have now been infected at least once at some point during the four Covid waves. Note this doesn’t allow for any waning of infection-acquired antibodies, which would mean these are lower-bound estimates.

Latest UKHSA Data Show Cases Down by a Third

Britain’s daily Covid cases plunged by a third over the weekend as testing dropped to the lowest level in a year in the first official figures since England ditched its free swabbing regime. MailOnline has more.

U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) statistics show another 143,382 positive Covid tests were logged on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, compared to the 215,001 recorded over the same three-day spell last week.

Meanwhile, Covid deaths today fell by 3% week-on-week, while daily hospital admissions increased by 4%. Both measures tend to lag two to three weeks behind the trend in cases.

Today’s drop in daily confirmed cases coincides with plummeting testing rates, sparked by No.10’s decision to axe free tests forever.

The Government’s daily case numbers are solely based on people swabbing themselves and registering the results with the system. Separate Covid-tracking estimates, which show infections have hit pandemic highs and are yet to slow down, are based on tens of thousands of random tests.

Downing Street today insisted the universal free testing programme will not be coming back in England, claiming the £2 billion-a-month lateral flow spending was “simply unsustainable”. Only health and care workers, the elderly and the vulnerable are still eligible for free swabs.

Scotland will end its offer next month while Wales is to stop handing out the swabs this summer.

Worth reading in full.

UKHSA Publishes Final Vaccine Data Report – as Vaccine Effectiveness Against Hospitalisation in Over-80s Heads to Zero

They say 13 is unlucky for some – well, it looks like that’s true for anyone wanting to investigate the impact of the Covid vaccines on infections, hospitalisations and deaths as, true to its word, this week, week 13, sees the last Vaccine Surveillance Report issued by the UKHSA to include these data.

From April 1st 2022, the U.K. Government will no longer provide free universal COVID-19 testing for the general public in England, as set out in the plan for living with COVID-19. Such changes in testing policies affect the ability to robustly monitor COVID-19 cases by vaccination status, therefore, from the week 14 report onwards this section of the report will no longer be published. Updates to vaccine effectiveness data will continue to be published elsewhere in this report.

The point about testing is somewhat valid, of course – the problem is that this change won’t affect hospitalisations and deaths data, and they could replace at least some of the infections data with the results that come from the (continued) testing of healthcare workers. This comes at a time with record-breaking infection levels in the U.K., as identified by sources including the ONS and the Zoe Symptom Tracker. These record case levels have been reported in the media, such as in the Guardian and the BBC; I find it odd that these reports blame the virus and our relaxation of restrictions for the record case levels – they don’t even mention the possibility that it is the vaccines that are causing this problem. Twelve months ago there were plenty of experts suggesting that mass vaccination could result in what had been seen in prior candidate vaccines for coronaviruses – an initial few months of protection followed by an increase in susceptibility to disease – but the existence of these warnings continues to be ignored.  On the other hand, the promises that these vaccines were ‘safe and effective’ continue to be believed, despite vast amounts of evidence suggesting the opposite (they’ve certainly not worked to get us to ‘Zero Covid’).

Vaccine Boosters Needed Every Six Months for the Foreseeable Future, Says U.K. Government Health Agency

Millions of Britons could need Covid boosters every six months for the foreseeable future, Dr. Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said on Monday. She suggested the most vulnerable “relevant groups” in society will still need regular top-up jabs. MailOnline has more.

Britain is still in a “period of uncertainty”, she said, despite all restrictions being lifted more than a month ago. Experts are unable to predict when a new variant may occur and how it could affect immunity from vaccines, she said. 

Around eight million over-75s, care home residents and immunocompromised over-12s in England are eligible for fourth doses this spring. Fifth, and potentially even sixth jabs, will be rolled out to a wider group this autumn. 

Dr. Harries was asked at a Public Accounts Committee today whether boosters would continue to be dished out every six months. Refusing to deny they could be topped up again after this fourth round of doses, she said: “For relevant groups, as per the evidence we have. The spring booster campaign we have is for those who are over 75, care home residents and those who are immunocompromised.” 

Dr. Harries said: “The pandemic is not over so for the next 18 months, two years or so I think it will be a settling down period. There are a couple of issues about when we might get a new variant and we can’t predict that with any certainty. The Omicron wave was the fastest wave we have seen with a lot of uncertainty until our evaluative teams were able to assess how well vaccines were performing against it. The other issue is what [type of vaccine] we want to procure.”

Health advisers are currently in discussion over whether to invest in vaccines tailored specifically to new variants or buy more standard jabs.

Every six months? Better be sure there are no adverse effects from repeatedly taking this drug, then.

Worth reading in full.