Low Booster Rates Show the U.K. is Slowly Coming to its Senses

Seemingly everyone’s adopted the Great Barrington Declaration now – the October 2020 statement that called for focused protection of the vulnerable rather than blanket one-size-fits-all interventions. We also appear to have reverted to the 2011 pandemic preparedness plan and the orthodox epidemiological approach that prevailed up until March 2020 is back in vogue.

The ‘pandemic’ involved the overturning of so much received wisdom without evidence. The untried and untested approach of lockdowns, masks and novel vaccines became the orthodox. Protection of the vulnerable, the build-up of herd immunity through infection of the fittest, became heresy.

Initially we were told that we would only vaccinate the elderly and vulnerable. We then proceeded to vaccinate everyone. Now we’re back to only vaccinating the over-50s and vulnerable.

Figure 1

Figure 1 shows the take up of the Autumn Booster campaign by age. In the 50-54 age-group only 29.3% have take up the option so far. In the over-70 age groups about 25% of those eligible have declined. Who would have predicted that two years ago? What do these figures say about trust in the health authorities?

Should we be surprised at this collapse in demand for Covid vaccines? Probably not. Figure 2 shows cumulative Covid Hospital admissions from March 19th 2020 to November 7th 2022. You can see that hospital admissions in recent months are running above the trend line – clearly, mass vaccination hasn’t made much difference, at least on this metric.

Figure 2

Of course, not all the people now or at any time admitted to hospital with Covid are there primarily due to Covid, but the chart makes the point that it certainly hasn’t gone away; it’s just gone from the headlines. It’s also true that the current variant is far milder than the initial variant and people are, rightly, less concerned about getting it again.

The population, it would appear, are increasingly coming to the conclusion that the reduced risk from Covid isn’t due to continued vaccination but due to evolution of the virus to a more benign state alongside the increase in natural immunity. Many have decided they’d rather have another dose of Covid than another dose of vaccine – or indeed, realised that they’ll get Covid again anyway.

The week 44 UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance Report provides data on Covid hospital admissions from September 1st to October 23rd 2022. In the chart below I’ve highlighted in red the dates covered by the report. This period covered most of this autumn’s ‘wavelet’. During this period hospital admissions swung from a seven-day average low of 488 to a high of 1,201.

Figure 3

Now, let’s look at the make-up of those hospital admissions by vaccination status.

The UKHSA has used the following to define vaccination status:

  • ‘Unvaccinated’ – no evidence of previous vaccination at the time of admission
  • ‘D1’ comprising only one dose of the primary course by the time of admission
  • ’D2’ comprising only two doses of the primary course by the time of admission
  • ‘D3 – Group 1’ comprising three doses of the primary course only by the time of admission (no evidence of any booster) or at least two doses of the primary course and a booster (either Autumn 2021 to 2022 booster or Spring 2022 booster) by the time of admission but no evidence of the Autumn 2022 booster
  • ‘D3 – Group 2’ at least two doses of the primary course and the Autumn 2022 booster by the time of admission with or without any of previous boosters (Winter 2021 to 2022 or Spring 2022 booster)
Figure 4

Of course, it’s worth noting that the ‘Group 2’ section of the over-three doses (the paler blue) are people who have had an autumn booster, a campaign that didn’t get started until part way through the period covered by this report and so had a relatively low impact on the numbers.

One thing is very clear from the charts, the unvaccinated are no more likely to be hospitalised than anyone from any of the other groups. Only 3.3% of those hospitalised in the over-75 age group were unvaccinated yet at least 5% of this age group are unvaccinated.

Table 12a, reproduced below from page 48 of the UKHSA report, shows the raw data and the percentage figures from which the pie charts are produced.

It seems to me that there’s great value in repeatedly going back to the raw data rather than accepting the ‘adjusted’ data that we’re fed by the authorities and media. The people of the U.K. appear to coming to the same conclusion as they survey the ‘raw data’ of their own experience and those around them.

Low Booster Rates Show the U.K. is Slowly Coming to its Senses

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