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Three-quarters of adults predicted to have Covid antibodies

Covid antibodies

By Isabel Shaw
Reporter

27 May 2021

Over three-quarters of adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland now have antibodies protecting them against Covid-19, new findings suggest.

Recent data, sourced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggests that over three-quarters of the adult population in Wales — an estimated 76.6% — would have tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus from a blood sample in the week beginning 3 May.

In England, an estimated 75.5% of the population would have tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus, while the figure for Northern Ireland was 75%, and for Scotland —the figure was lower again — at 49.3%.

The estimate — conducted on a fortnightly basis — was based on blood test results taken from a randomly selected subsample of individuals aged 16 years and over.

These results come as the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced more than a third (43%) of the UK’s adult population are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Wales announced today (27 May)that over 33% of its adult population had received a second jab, with almost half of young people aged over 18 or in their 20s have had a first Covid jab.

As of yesterday, Scotland had fully vaccinated 35% of its population, with over 54% having received their first dose, according to Government statistics.

Antibody positivity is higher among older people, which reflects the higher numbers of older people who have received the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the ONS said.

However, the authors of the ONS study highlighted that detection of antibodies alone is not a ‘precise’ measure of the immunity protection given by vaccination.

More than 97% of people aged 75 and 79 years and over have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in England and Wales. In Northern Ireland, the level of immunity was similarly high for those aged 70 years and over at 91.1% and in Scotland, 95.7% of those aged 70 to 74 years had immunity.

Antibody prevalence was lowest in adults aged 16 to 49 in all four nations. In England and Wales, antibodies ranged from 48% to 70%.

The authors of the study highlighted that the results do not include people who live in care homes.

This comes as all patients over 30 years old in England are now able to receive a Covid vaccination after NHS England opened up bookings to people aged 30 and 31 earlier this week.

Last month, pharmacies were advised to cancel any AstraZeneca jab appointments for people aged under 30, following updated guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that said this age group should be offered an alternative.

After this, the MHRA announced that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can remain stable at temperatures found in refrigerators for up to one month. The Pharmacist understands that some pharmacy sites in England have since been commissioned to deliver the Pfizer vaccine as well as the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.


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