#AceHealthDesk says that 9 in 10 adults were estimated to have #COVID19 antibodies across U.K. (not living in care homes, hospitals or other institutional settings) Week beginning 26th July 2021 ….
Aug.20, 2021: @acenewsservices
1. Main points
- In England, it is estimated that over 9 in 10 adults, or 94.2% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 93.2% to 95.1%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the specific virus that causes coronavirus (COVID-19), on a blood test in the week beginning 26 July 2021, suggesting they had the infection in the past or have been vaccinated.
- In Wales, it is estimated that over 9 in 10 adults, or 93.2% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 91.8% to 94.5%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 on a blood test in the week beginning 26 July 2021, suggesting they had the infection in the past or have been vaccinated.
- In Northern Ireland, it is estimated that around 9 in 10 adults, or 89.1% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 85.0% to 92.0%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 on a blood test in the week beginning 26 July 2021, suggesting they had the infection in the past or have been vaccinated.
- In Scotland, it is estimated that over 9 in 10 adults, or 93.5% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 92.2% to 94.6%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 on a blood test in the week beginning 26 July 2021, suggesting they had the infection in the past or have been vaccinated.
- Across all four countries of the UK, there is a clear pattern between vaccination and testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies but the detection of antibodies alone is not a precise measure of the immunity protection given by vaccination.
About this bulletin
In this bulletin, we refer to the following.
We measure the presence of antibodies in the community population to understand who has had coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past, and the impact of vaccinations. It takes between two and three weeks after infection or vaccination for the body to make enough antibodies to fight the infection. Having antibodies can help to prevent individuals from getting the same infection again, or if they do get infected, they are less likely to have severe symptoms. Once infected or vaccinated, antibodies remain in the blood at low levels and can decline over time. The length of time antibodies remain at detectable levels in the blood is not fully known.
In this instance, community population refers to private residential households, and excludes those in hospitals, care homes and/or other institutional settings.
This is the scientific name given to the specific virus that causes COVID-19.
Data in this bulletin
The analysis on antibodies in this bulletin is based on blood test results taken from a randomly selected subsample of individuals aged 16 years and over, which are used to test for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. We also present data on the percentage of people aged 16 years and over who report they have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine since 14 December 2020, and the percentage of people aged 16 years and over who are fully vaccinated since 15 February 2021.
Our antibodies and vaccination estimates are based on modelling of the people visited in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey in the community. Further information on our method to model antibodies and vaccinations can be found in our methods article.
We produce weekly modelled estimates using standard calendar weeks starting Monday. To provide the most timely and accurate estimates possible for antibody positivity, the model will include data for the first four to seven days of the most recent week available, depending on the availability of test results. The antibody estimate for the most recent week in this publication includes data from 26 to 29 July 2021.
We are presenting weekly modelled antibody estimates for adults by country, grouped age and single year of age for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. We present the same analysis for vaccine estimates of adults who reported they have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and for adults who report they are fully vaccinated.
Modelled vaccine estimates are produced to provide context alongside our antibodies estimates and do not replace the official government figures on vaccinations, which are a more precise count of total vaccines issued. While we would expect the overall trend of our estimated number of people who have received vaccines to increase, it is possible that in some weeks, the estimate may remain the same or decrease as a result of sampling variability (for example, we may have a lower number of participants recording a vaccination in the latest week compared with an earlier week).Back to table of contents
2. Understanding antibodies, immunity and vaccination estimates
This bulletin presents analysis on past infection and/or vaccination – which we define as testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 – for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland based on findings from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey in the UK. For context, we include estimates from our survey on the percentage of people who reported they have received at least one dose of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, as well as those who have been fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.
It is not yet known how having detectable antibodies, now or at some time in the past, affects the chance of becoming infected or experiencing symptoms, as other parts of the immune system (T cell response) will offer protection. Antibody positivity is defined by a fixed amount of antibodies in the blood. A negative test result will occur if there are no antibodies or if antibody levels are too low to reach this threshold.
It is important to draw the distinction between testing positive for antibodies and having immunity. Following infection or vaccination, antibody levels can vary and sometimes increase but can still be below the level identified as “positive” in our test, and other tests. This does not mean that a person has no protection against COVID-19, as an immune response does not rely on the presence of antibodies alone.
We also do not yet know exactly how much antibodies need to rise to give protection. A person’s T cell response will provide protection but is not detected by blood tests for antibodies. A person’s immune response is affected by a number of factors, including health conditions and age. Our blog gives further information on the link between antibodies and immunity and the vaccine programme.
While the daily official government figures provide the recorded actual numbers of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 issued, our vaccination estimates are likely to be different from the official figures. This is because they are estimates based on a sample survey of reported vaccine status and are provided for context alongside our antibodies estimates. We control for the effect of ethnicity by post-stratifying our analysis by White and non-White ethnic groups, rather than individual ethnicities, because of our current sample size. This could result in differences between our survey estimates and the government figures in the numbers of vaccines received for some ethnic minority groups.
Importantly, our survey collects information from the population living in private households and does not include people living in communal establishments such as care homes, hospitals or prisons. The value of showing our estimates of vaccines alongside our estimates of people testing positive for antibodies is to illustrate the relationship between the two.
Differences between official figures and the estimates from this survey differ in scale across each of the four UK nations (some survey estimates are closer to the official reported figures than others) because of differences in reporting dates and the inclusion of National Immunisation Management System (NIMS)1 data for England. In addition, our sampling method for Northern Ireland is different to the other nations, inviting only people who have previously participated in a Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) survey, which could result in a sample of individuals who are more likely to get vaccinated. This should be taken into consideration if comparing vaccine and antibody estimates across the four nations, as vaccine status and antibody positivity are related.
In addition, as our analysis develops, our survey-based estimates will enable possible future analysis of people who have received a vaccine with other characteristics collected in the survey. Our blog provides more information on what the Office for National Statistics (ONS) can tell you about the COVID-19 vaccine programme.
Our methodology article provides further information around the survey design, how we process data, and how data are analysed. The study protocol specifies the research for the study. The Quality and Methodology Information details the strength and limitations of the data.
Notes for: Understanding antibodies, immunity and vaccination estimates
- National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) administrative data are used to validate Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey self-reported records of vaccination for England. The equivalent of this is currently not included for other countries meaning the estimates for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are produced only from Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey self-reported records of vaccination.
#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Aug.20: 2021:
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