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COVID-19: Antibody data in those aged 70-84 show vaccinations are having an impact

Written by on 12 February 2021

The number of people aged 70-84 with COVID-19 antibodies has more than doubled, according to new figures by Public Health England.

According to the latest weekly surveillance report – for the week ending 7 February – seropositivity has increased in recent weeks across all age groups.

A person is seropositive when they return a positive result from a blood test for a particular antibody – a substance that fights a disease.

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Seropositivity is still highest amongst those aged between 17 and 29, perhaps unsurprising given the high infection rates for this group.

But most notably, it has risen in people between 70 and 84 – from 4.1% in December 2020 to 9.7% in January 2021.

The report said: “The most recent increase in seropositivity in those aged 70- 84 is likely due to a combination of increased transmission and vaccination that started during December 2020.”

The news comes as provisional NHS England figures showed a total of 11,901,827 COVID-19 vaccinations took place in England between 8 December and 10 February.

Of this number, 11,422,507 were the first dose of a vaccine while 479,320 were a second dose.

The regional breakdown of vaccination doses between 8 December and 10 February is:

LONDON: 1,290,874 first and 62,450 second doses (total of 1,353,324)

MIDLANDS: 2,182,085 first and 71,778 second doses (2,253,863)

EAST OF ENGLAND: 1,375,546 first and 58,765 second doses (1,434,311)

NORTH EAST AND YORKSHIRE: 1,785,389 first and 78,574 second doses (1,863,963)

NORTH WEST: 1,540,105 first and 68,343 second doses (1,608,448)

SOUTH EAST: 1,859,227 first and 82,584 second doses (1,941,811)

SOUTH WEST: 1,326,126 first and 56,458 second doses (1,382,584)

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Meanwhile, COVID-19 case rates are continuing to fall in all regions of England.

In the West Midlands, the rate of new cases stood at 237.6 per 100,000 people in the seven days to 7 February – the highest rate of any region, but down from 326.8 in the previous week.

The East Midlands recorded the second highest rate: 223.7, down from 280.0.

Southwest England recorded the lowest rate: 120.3, down from 176.5.

Case rates in England are also continuing to fall among all age groups.

The highest rate is among 30 to 39-year-olds, which stood at 265.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to 7 February, down week-on-week from 367.2.

Among 20 to 29-year-olds the rate dropped from 342.5 to 247.4, and for 40 to 49-year-olds it fell from 323.5 to 227.5.

For people aged 80 and over, the rate fell from 294.6 to 200.5.