In a recent round of interviews, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the Covid vaccination rollout in the UK is breaking the link between Covid cases and deaths. He said that the vaccines were helping to save thousands of lives. He again urged people to get their vaccinations amid the concerns that have arisen over the AstraZeneca jab.
The Health Secretary confirmed that there were more than enough doses of alternative jabs for younger people who will no longer receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, he also added the AstraZeneca jab was safe for all ages, adding that all the vaccines used in the rollout had helped break the link between infections and deaths.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Hancock said, "What we've learned in the last 24 hours is that the rollout of the vaccine is working, we've seen that the safety system is working because the regulators can spot even this extremely rare event - four in a million - and take necessary action to ensure the rollout is as safe as it possibly can be. And we are seeing that the vaccine is working. It's breaking the link between cases and deaths."
Deaths not following the same pattern as infections
Experts have continued to conduct government-commissioned research at Imperial College London. Researchers took swabs from 140,000 people as part of the study, with testing between 11th and 30th March. The results showed that just 0.2%, or one in 500 people, had a positive result. For those aged 65 and over, the rate fell to just 0.1% or one in 1000 people.
Studies have found that since February, infections fell by around two-thirds and then started to level off. According to experts, the levelling off is most likely down to people mixing more than they were in the earlier part of the year when stricter lockdown regulations and school closures were still in place.
However, according to the data, the nation's death rate has not followed the same pattern, which suggests that the vaccination rollout is breaking what was previously described as an ‘unbreakable’ link between Covid infections and deaths.
Case numbers flattened out in March
Experts said after several weeks of sharp declines, the infection rate across the UK levelled out during the last few weeks of March. The report from Imperial College London stated that since the easing of lockdown restrictions and schools returning, there had been a considerable slowdown in the decline of new cases.
Professor Stephen Riley, one of the authors of the report, did add that it was ‘gratifying’ that infection rates did not rise after schools reopened, which had been a major concern for many.