Unvaccinated people are up to 32 times more likely to die if they catch Covid than the double-vaccinated, official figures suggested today.
An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report found the mortality rate for deaths involving Covid in England among unjabbed adults was 849.7 per 100,000. For comparison, the rate stood at just 26.2 for fully vaccinated people and 105.3 for adults who had only had their first dose.
Death figures were for between January 2 to September 24 this year, which includes the brunt of the second wave when millions of adults weren't yet eligible for vaccines.
People were counted as being single- or double-vaccinated from 21 days after each dose because of the length of time taken for immunity to kick in and protect against the virus.
Experts today heralded the results as clear evidence that everyone should get the vaccine. But some warned that the figures may have 'overstated' the power of jabs.
The above graph shows the age-standardised mortality rates for deaths involving Covid in England by vaccination status. They are given as per 100,000 person-years, and are age-standardised to take account of different vaccine roll out times in age groups. They show the unvaccinated are most likely to die if they catch Covid
The above graph shows that people who have received two doses of the vaccine (green line) are least likely to die if they catch the virus. They are followed by those who have got just one dose (purple line). The unvaccinated are most likely to die if they catch Covid (blue line)
In the report mortality rates were age-standardised, to account for the fact different age groups were vaccinated at separate times.
Older people who are most likely to die if they catch the virus were prioritised in the roll out, with the over-80s invited to get their first dose in December. But those in their early 20s had to wait until June to be called.
There was also a gap of 12 weeks between the first and second dose towards the beginning of the drive to ensure the maximum number of people could be jabbed in the shortest time possible. But in June this was cut to eight weeks.
Covid vaccines are just as effective against the Delta variant offshoot as its ancestor, scientists say.
A report by the UK Health Security Agency — which replaced the now-defunct Public Health England — published on Friday found being jabbed slashed the risk of someone infected with AY.4.2 developing symptoms by 81 per cent.
For comparison, two doses are thought to block around 83 per cent of all people falling ill with the ancestor strain.
The UKHSA said the preliminary results do 'not suggest a significant reduction in vaccine effectiveness for AY.4.2 compared to Delta' and admitted the slight drop may be down to chance.
Almost 24,000 cases of the strain have now been spotted in Britain.
But the true count could be 10 times higher because laboratories are only sequencing a fraction of all confirmed samples.
Separate surveillance data shows the variant has now been found in all but a dozen parts of England and makes up one in ten new cases — with its proportion having doubled in the space of a month.
Despite statistics showing it's still outcompeting its ancestor, some experts are now questioning how much more transmissible than Delta the subtype really is. Scientists initially estimated the strain was around 10