An analysis of deaths involving COVID-19 that occurred between 2 January and 2 July 2021 in England, by vaccination status. It’s a detailed analysis of deaths involving COVID-19 that occurred in fully vaccinated individuals, published by UK Office for National Statistics.

Here are the main points of the analysis:

  • In England, between 2 January and 2 July 2021, there were 640 deaths occurred in people who were fully vaccinated, which includes people who had been infected before they were vaccinated.
  • The risk of death involving COVID-19 was consistently lower for people who had received two vaccinations compared to one or no vaccination.
  • “Breakthrough cases” are where infection has occurred in someone who is fully vaccinated, whereas we define a “breakthrough death” as a death involving COVID-19 that occurred in someone who had received both vaccine doses and had a first positive PCR test at least 14 days after the second vaccination dose; in total, there were 256 breakthrough deaths between 2 January and 2 July 2021.
  • 13.1% of breakthrough deaths occurred in people who were identified as likely to be immunocompromised from hospital episodes or causes of death, compared to 5.4% for other COVID-19 deaths.

Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status

The risk of a new infection following vaccination is highest during the first 21 days after the first vaccination, as shown by analysis of the COVID-19 Infections Survey.

There were 458 deaths involving COVID-19 in people who received their second dose at least 21 days before the date of death.

Table: There were 640 deaths involving COVID-19 of people who had received both vaccination doses

Vaccination statusDeaths involving
COVID-19
Non-COVID-19
deaths
COVID-19 deaths
as percent of
all deaths
All deaths regardless of vaccination status51,281214,70119.3
Unvaccinated 38,96465,17037.4
Deaths within 21 days of first dose4,38814,26523.5
Deaths 21 days or more after first dose 7,28966,5339.9
Deaths within 21 days of second dose18211,4701.6
Deaths 21 days or more after second dose 45857,2630.8

Source: Office for National Statistics – National Immunisation Management Service, NHS Test and Trace

Characteristics of breakthrough deaths

The linked data includes 252 breakthrough deaths and 43,956 total deaths involving COVID-19, 98.4% and 85.7% respectively of all breakthrough and total deaths involving COVID-19 that occurred between 2 January and 2 July 2021.

Breakthrough
deaths
Other deaths
involving COVID-19
Non COVID-19
deaths
Median age8482 82 
Male154 (61.1%) 22,819 (52.2%) 89,498 (48.5%) 
Female98 (38.9%) 20,885 (47.8%) 94,901 (51.5%) 
Clinically extremely
vulnerable
193 (76.6%) 32,567 (74.5%) 128,454 (69.7%) 
Not clinically
extremely vulnerable
59 (23.4%) 11,137 (25.5%) 55,945 (30.3%) 
Limited a lot by
long-term health
problem or disability
80 (31.7%) 12,152 (27.8%) 44,642 (24.2%) 
Limited a little by
long-term health
problem or disability
80 (31.7%) 12,604 (28.8%) 50,817 (27.6%) 
Not limited by
long-term health
problem or disability
92 (36.5%) 18,948 (43.4%) 88,940 (48.2%) 
Immunocompromised33 (13.1%) 2,360 (5.4%) 18,049 (9.8%) 
Not
immunocompromised
219 (86.9%) 41,344 (94.6%) 166,350 (90.2%) 

Source: Office for National Statistics – Public Health Data Asset, National Immunisation Management Service, NHS Test and Trace

  • The median age for breakthrough deaths was 84 and 61.1% of the deaths occurred in males, despite there being more elderly women than men, and therefore initially more fully vaccinated women who could experience a breakthrough death. For all other deaths involving COVID-19 occurring between 2 January and 2 July 2021 in the PHDA dataset, the median age was 82 and 52.2% were male.
  • 13.1% of the breakthrough deaths occurred in people who were immunocompromised, compared to 5.4% for other deaths involving COVID-19.
  • A greater proportion of breakthrough deaths occurred in those who were clinically extremely vulnerable (76.6%, 193 deaths), than other COVID-19 deaths (74.5%, 32,567 deaths) or non-COVID-19 deaths (69.7%, 128,454 deaths).
  • A similar trend is observed for disability and long-term health problem status, with proportions of deaths among people self-reporting that they are “limited a lot” on the 2011 Census as 31.7%, 27.8% and 24.2% for breakthrough deaths, other deaths involving COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 deaths respectively.

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