On August 25th, the ONS published on ‘Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between April 1st 2021 and May 31st 2023‘ and an Excel datasheet.
Then, on October 20th, an Adjournment Debate on the Trends in Excess Deaths occurred. It was attended by Andrew Bridgen MP, a handful of other parliamentarians and the Westminster cat called Mog. Ostensibly, the debate was about the role (if any) of Covid vaccines and excess deaths.
On October 24th, in response to the debate, the U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) released a document called ‘Trends in Excess Deaths and Covid-19 Vaccines‘.
We will spare you the safe and effective routine that seems to be the lot of any minister or public official and look at the data on which statements such as “There is no evidence linking excess deaths to the COVID-19 vaccine” are based. As a preliminary note, we should point out that vaccines should be plural as several varieties were being used, but it looks as if the Government cannot distinguish one from the other.
The DHSC document contains the following statement:
First, is the mortality rate in 2022 lower than in 2020?
The mortality rate is the estimated total number of deaths in a population divided by the total number of this population, expressed per 100,000 population, for a given year.
There were fewer deaths in 2022 than in 2020, so the mortality rate would be lower. However, this is an erroneous comparison as even the Office for National Statistics (ONS) removes 2020 data from its averages due to the high number of deaths in the first year of the pandemic. The ONS reports a five-year average (2016 to 2019 and 2021).
The number of deaths registered in 2022 in England and Wales was 6.2% above the five-year average.
However, let’s press on. The DHSC referenced data from the ONS, which have featured prominently in Trust the Evidence as an expert picker of cherries. It is helpfully hyperlinked with the lamentation that comparing vaccinated with those who remained unvaccinated is fraught with difficulties as non-coverage reached 4.6% of the population, so the confidence intervals around any estimates will be wide.
We would be slightly more cautious as coverage has varied over time, and boosters have reached an all-time low. Anecdotally, they are thought to be below 10% take-up.