Weekly COVID-19 age-standardised mortality rates by vaccination status, England: methodology




Age-standardised mortality rates are calculated for vaccination status groups using the Public Health Data Asset (PHDA) dataset. The PHDA is a linked dataset combining the 2011 Census, the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) data for pandemic planning and research, and the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES). We linked vaccination data from the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS) to the PHDA based on NHS number, and linked data on positive coronavirus (COVID-19) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests from Test and Trace to the PHDA, also based on NHS number.

The PHDA dataset contains a subset of the population and allows for analyses to be carried out that require a known living population with known characteristics. These characteristics include age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) by vaccination status and the use of variables such as health conditions and census characteristics.

Author(s): UK government, ONS

Publication Date: Accessed 27 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Office of National Statistics

COVID and Simpson’s Paradox: Why So Many Vaccinated People are Among the Current Wave of Hospitalizations

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/covid-and-simpsons-paradox-why-so



There you have it — for this slice of time, the beginning of August 2021, Israel shows that the vaccines reduced risk 80%+, for all age groups.

Yes, if you just do an aggregation at the whole population level, it looks like a 67% reduction. That’s the “magic” of Simpson’s Paradox. For any given age group, the percentage reduction is much larger. But due to the relative risks by age, even with such high reductions, the overall population result shows a smaller improvement.

Takeaway: COVID vaccines greatly reduce risk

This is the main takeaway: the COVID vaccines greatly reduce the risk of adverse outcomes.

By the way, this is also true of the annual flu vaccines, which range in efficacy based on how well the vaccine that year matches up with the strains circulating, and which strains are circulating (some strains, even if you formulated the vaccine perfectly, still infect.) I could give you flu/pneumonia death rates by age groups, and you would see that flu/pneumonia is a big killer of the elderly. Get your flu vaccines, please.

But, we should also expect a lot of people hospitalized with COVID to be vaccinated old folks. Just because of the huge risk slope by age, which will still exist after vaccination.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 19 August 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Five truths about covid that defy our intuitions


1. If a large share of hospitalised people are vaccinated, that’s a sign of success. It has been common to see headlines noting that a substantial minority of people who have been hospitalised or even killed by Covid have been fully vaccinated. These numbers suggest vaccine failure is alarmingly common. The fallacy only becomes clear at the logical extremes: before vaccines existed, everyone in hospital was unvaccinated; if vaccines were universal, then everybody in hospital would be vaccinated. Neither scenario tells us whether the vaccines work.

So try this. Imagine that 1 per cent of the unvaccinated population will end up in hospital with Covid over a given time period. In a city of a million people, that would be 10,000 hospital stays. Now let’s say that 950,000 people get fully vaccinated, that the vaccine is 95 per cent effective against hospitalisation, and that the vaccine doesn’t reduce transmission (although it does). Here’s the arithmetic: 500 of the 50,000 unvaccinated people end up in hospital. A total of 9,500 of the vaccinated people would be at risk of a hospital visit, but the vaccine saves all but 5 per cent of them. These unlucky 475 still go to hospital. The hospital contains 500 unvaccinated and 475 vaccinated people — almost half and half — which makes it seem as though the vaccine barely works. Yet when 95 per cent of people take a 95 per cent effective vaccine, hospital visits fall from 10,000 to fewer than 1,000.

Author(s): Tim Harford

Publication Date: 19 August 2021

Publication Site: TimHarford.com

CDC warns of a “significant decline” in vaccine effectiveness for some, prompting booster dose decision

Link: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-vaccine-booster-shot-cdc-effectiveness/?mc_cid=7fce136b2d&mc_eid=983bcf5922


New data being released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of a “significant decline” in vaccine effectiveness against infection from COVID-19 in nursing home residents, as the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus causes a spike in hospitalizations among mostly unvaccinated Americans.

The release came as the Biden administration says it is preparing to offer booster shots for all Americans who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, eight months after their second dose, beginning the week of September 20.

“Given this body of evidence, we are concerned that the current strong protection against severe infection, hospitalization and death could decrease in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or who were vaccinated earlier,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing Wednesday.


Publication Date: 18 August 2021

Publication Site: CBS News

Israeli data: How can efficacy vs. severe disease be strong when 60% of hospitalized are vaccinated?

Link: https://www.covid-datascience.com/post/israeli-data-how-can-efficacy-vs-severe-disease-be-strong-when-60-of-hospitalized-are-vaccinated



These efficacies are quite high and suggests the vaccines are doing a very good job of preventing severe disease in both older and young cohorts. These levels of efficacy are much higher than the 67.5% efficacy estimate we get if the analysis is not stratified by age. How can there be such a discrepancy between the age-stratified and overall efficacy numbers?

This is an example of Simpson’s Paradox, a well-known phenomenon in which misleading results can sometimes be obtained from observational data in the presence of confounding factors.

Author(s): Jeffrey Morris

Publication Date: 17 August 2021

Publication Site: Covid-19 Data Science

Pandemic of unvaccinated continues to rage as states set new COVID records

Link: https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/08/pandemic-of-unvaccinated-continues-to-rage-as-states-set-new-covid-records/?mc_cid=7fce136b2d&mc_eid=983bcf5922



At least five states have exceeded their previous peaks of seven-day averages for new daily cases—Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Oregon, and Mississippi. Seven states have exceeded their most recent peaks in hospitalizations—Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oregon, and Washington.

Florida in particular has been ablaze with COVID-19. The Sunshine State exceeded its previous record average of around 16,000 new daily cases, which was set in January. The state is now averaging just under 22,000, according to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As for daily hospitalization tallies, Florida is currently at its all-time record of around 15,000, exceeding its previous highest peak of around 12,000 last July.

Federal health officials noted last week that shipments to Florida containing COVID-19 treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, increased eightfold over the past month. On Tuesday, the Florida Hospital Association reported that it soon expects 75 percent of hospitals in the state to reach critical staffing shortages.

Author(s): Beth Mole

Publication Date: 17 August 2021

Publication Site: Ars Technica

5 States Where COVID-19 Hospitalizations Are Surging

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2021/07/29/5-states-where-covid-19-hospitalizations-are-surging/



Some U.S. states look as if they might be heading into a severe new wave of COVID-19.

Federal government charts illustrating trends in new case counts and hospitalization rates in those states are starting to head straight up.

Hospitalization rates may be a better indicator of outbreak severity than new case counts, because ups and downs in the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 might reflect changes in how easy and cheap it is for people to get tested, rather than infection rates.

Hospitals, in contrast, are likely to admit people with COVID-19 only when those people are seriously ill.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 29 July 2021

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Asian Americans Are Most Vaccinated Group in Majority of States: Covid-19 Tracker

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/us-vaccine-demographics.html



At least 65% of Asian people have been vaccinated, on average, in states that Bloomberg is tracking. That compares with 45% of White people with at least one dose, 40% of Hispanics and 34% of Black people. In New Mexico, New York and Washington, more than three-quarters of the Asian population has been covered.

Even as rates slowed, Asians remained the most likely to get newly vaccinated, with an average of more than 5% getting their first dose over the past month compared to 3.5% or less for the other groups.

Author(s): Rachael Dottle, Andre Tartar

Publication Date: 14 July 2021 (last updated)

Publication Site: Bloomberg

Covid-19 deaths in Russia are soaring

Link: https://www.economist.com/europe/2021/07/10/covid-19-deaths-in-russia-are-soaring



The number of new daily cases is currently around 25,000, somewhat fewer than in Britain, and rising. But whereas in Britain this surge has translated into an average of 18 daily deaths over the past week, in Russia it has resulted in an average of 670 deaths a day.

The contrast is all the more striking because Russia was the first country in the world to approve a working vaccine, one based on the same science as the British-Swedish AstraZeneca one and apparently just as effective. But whereas in Britain 78% of the population has received at least one jab, in Russia the proportion is only 20%. The difference is not the availability or the efficacy of the jab, but people’s trust in the government and its vaccines.

All of this could have been avoided. A year ago the government decided to lift a partial lockdown (Mr Putin called it “a holiday”), hoping to save itself money and to prop up the president’s faltering popularity after a prolonged slump in incomes. Mr Putin’s ratings did go back up—but so did the risk of infection.

Publication Date: 10 July 2021

Publication Site: The Economist

Biden’s Covid vaccine push crashes into reality

Link: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/07/biden-covid-vaccine-push-498479


After falling short of its goal of administering at least one dose of the vaccine to 70 percent of adults by July 4th (it reached 67 percent) the White House is now turning its attention to the toughest populations in the country. That includes places like barber shops in Englewood, which are part of the “Shots at the Shops” effort by the White House. It’s also sending “surge teams” to some of the lowest vaccinated spots in the country, enlisting trusted messengers like church leaders to go door-to-door. And they’ll add mobile vaccination units at places like music festivals, sporting events or neighborhoods with low vaccination rates.


It’s all in an effort to target the stubbornly resistant, or hard-to-reach populations as fear grows that the virus could reemerge thanks to the highly contagious Delta variant.

Much of the coverage of those populations has focused on Trump supporters who have resisted vaccination as a matter of political identity. And data show that vaccination rates do tend to overlap with partisan leanings. But there are other hard-to-reach communities, including young people, Black and minority groups that traditionally vote Democratic.

Author(s): Natasha Korecki

Publication Date: 7 July 2021

Publication Site: Politico

Latest Data on COVID-19 Vaccinations Race/Ethnicity



This week’s (May 10 to May 17, 2021) pace of vaccination remained similar to last week across racial/ethnic groups. Across reporting states, vaccination rates increased by 1.3 percentage points for White people, from 40.3% to 41.6%, and by 1.2 percentage points for Black people, from 26.6% to 27.8%, maintaining the gap in rates between these groups (Figure 4). The rate for Hispanic people increased by 1.6 percentage points from 28.8% to 30.4%, while the rate for Asian people increased by 1.9 percentage points, from 50.2% to 52.1%.

Author(s): Nambi Ndugga, Olivia Pham , Latoya Hill, Samantha Artiga, Raisa Alam , Noah Parker

Publication Date: 19 May 2021

Publication Site: Kaiser Family Foundation