The UK has been experiencing an unprecedented wave of new cases triggered by the spread of the Omicron variant. The numbers have toppled those that were previously considered dangerously high last winter.
However, experts have noticed that although the rate of infection is at an all-time high, the death rate has remained relatively low and stable in the last couple of months. Some believe that it could be because of one particular vaccine—the highly controversial, AstraZeneca.
AstraZeneca to the rescue?
According to Clive Dix, former chief of UK’s vaccine task force, the low death rate is explained by the fact that most of the country’s elderly and vulnerable citizens were inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. He told The Daily Telegraph:
If you look across Europe, with the rise in cases, there’s also a corresponding lagged rise in deaths, but not in the UK, and we have to understand that.
I personally believe that’s because most of our vulnerable people were given the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Dix explained that unlike other existing vaccines, AstraZeneca provides the inoculated with a more ‘durable cellular response’ which could 'last for life in some cases.' He added:
We’ve seen early data that the Oxford jab produces a very durable cellular response and if you’ve got a durable cellular immunity response then they can last for a long time.
COVID in the UK
So far, the UK has observed a 7-day average of 91 deaths per day as of 26 December. To compare, France had an average of 164 in the same time period, while Germany had an average of 297 deaths.
Although the death rates have been steady, hospital admissions, however, have risen by 34.7% in England. Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation confirmed:
Daily hospital admissions with Covid have gone up by [34.7%] in the last week in England [from 815 to 1,098] and this is really worrying for health leaders whose teams are working flat out in the context of rising staff absences and wider pressures.”