This is our regular OpenSAFELY weekly report on COVID-19 vaccination coverage in England using data from 40% of general practices that use TPP electronic health record software. The data requires careful interpretation and there are a number of caveats. Please read the full detail about our methods and discussion of our earlier results (as of January 13th) in our preprint paper available here and abstract below. Jump to the weekly report
Background: On December 8th 2020, NHS England administered the first COVID-19 vaccination as part of an ambitious vaccination programme during a global health emergency.
Aims: To develop a framework for detailed near-real-time monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out; to describe trends and variation in coverage by geographic area, and between key clinical and demographic patient groups.
Methods: Working on behalf of NHS England we used routine clinical data from 23.4 million patients to conduct a retrospective cohort study of comprehensive electronic health record data in NHS England, using the OpenSAFELY-TPP platform which covers approximately 40% of the general population in England with weekly data updates. We developed algorithms to identify key demographic and clinical sub-groups within this population and generated descriptive statistics on proportion of eligible patients receiving the vaccine among key Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) target groups.
Results: Between December 8th and January 13th 961,580 people out of 23.4m in our dataset received a COVID-19 vaccine. Of 1,160,062 patients aged 80 or over and not living in a care home (currently targeted by JCVI) 476,375 had been vaccinated in total (41.1%). We observed a substantial divergence in vaccination by ethnicity within this group (White 42.5% vaccinated, Black 20.5%) and across rankings of deprivation (least deprived 44.7%, most deprived 37.9%). Patients with pre-existing medical conditions were equally likely, or more likely, to have received a vaccine across most co-morbidity groups with two exceptions: severe mental illness (30.3% vaccinated) and learning disability (28.1%). We identify substantial variation in vaccination among the over-80s between Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs; Range 12%-74%); lower vaccination rates among ethnic minority and deprived groups was observed in most but not all STPs. In the 70-79 age cohort 74,108 people (3.6%) had been vaccinated. 378,921 vaccine recipients under 70 and not identifiably resident in a care home were presumed to be health or social care workers; 32,174 recipients were identified as older aged care home residents (33.2% coverage). Of all those vaccinated, 169,472 had received a second dose (17.6%).
Conclusions: The NHS in England has rapidly delivered mass vaccination. We were able to deploy a data monitoring framework across small clinical subgroups using linked patient-level NHS data on 23.4 million people with very short delays from vaccine administration to completed analysis. Targeted activity may be needed to address lower vaccination rates observed among certain key groups: ethnic minorities, people living in areas of higher deprivation, and those with severe mental illness or learning disabilities. However we note that this data is only from the first preliminary weeks of the vaccination programme. Variation in vaccination coverage between groups and regions will have many complex drivers, the figures presented in this manuscript require thoughtful interpretation to support a rapidly evolving NHS vaccination campaign; we are sharing local level data with national and regional NHS teams on request.
Read the full paper on medRxiv here.
The report was last updated 26 Apr 2021 and vaccinations are included up to 21 Apr 2021 inclusive. You can review all tables and charts with detail on vaccination coverage in different demographic and clinical groups here. Please feel free to review the charts in detail.
Important changes since 8 March: Ethnicity is now known for over 90% for most groups, by using hospital records in addition to GP records; and the previous OpenSafely intellectual disability inc Down Syndrome codelist has been replaced with the national Covid-19 Vaccination Uptake Reporting Specification "wider LD" codelist (which captures fewer people), and vaccination coverage among this LD group is shown in a new table.