UK: 2021 Mortality
UK's mortality data shows an association between Covid19 vaccines and an increased mortality for people younger than 25 years old.
In the United Kingdom, the Office for National Statistics publishes regular reports regarding Covid19 and the ongoing mass-vaccination campaign. In this article we'll take a look at the data from 1 January 2021 to 31 January 2022; 13 months of mortality data.
The agency publishes raw mortality data, broken down by vaccination status, age, and verified Covid19-infection. Perhaps surprisingly, the raw numbers show a positive association between the vaccine and overall deaths for age groups younger than 25 years old. Meaning, a larger rate of vaccinated people up to 25 years old died than unvaccinated.
Overall mortality is one of the most important metrics when evaluating the vaccine. It's an excellent metric in the sense that it's very hard to misinterpret; a person is either dead or alive. Yet, it is advisable to cautiously interpret the data. People were not randomly assigned whether to get vaccinated or not, meaning there could be multiple confounding variables; the data is insufficient to infer causality.
Below follows the raw data visualized. First relative effectiveness, and then the absolute death-rate difference.
Vaccine effectiveness as commonly defined by the medical community. Note that one bar is truncated for the age-group 10-14, due to its large size. Where denotes the probability of dying during the measured period for the corresponding group.
Vaccine death-rate difference
The same data expressed as the death-rate difference. For example, if the unvaccinated had a death-rate of 0.1%, and the vaccinated 0.2%, the effectiveness would be -100%, while the difference -0.1%.
The general pattern is clear: the younger the age-group, the less favorable outcomes for the vaccinated. The vaccines are associated with reduced mortality first at around the age of 25-30. For the youngest age-group, 10-14, the vaccine effectiveness is -115%. A vaccinated adolescent between the ages of 10-14 suffered a far greater risk of dying of any cause, including Covid19, than an unvaccinated. For the oldest age-group, the opposite is true.
Due to the confounders' unknown contributions, it's hard to draw general conclusions regarding the vaccine. The confounding variables could affect the data either way. On the one hand, perhaps people of overall worse health were more likely to get vaccinated, as they worried more about Covid19. On the other hand, ethnic minorities, a group with a higher prior mortality, exhibited a lower tendency to get vaccinated.
The fact that Non-Covid19 deaths are lower for vaccinated in multiple age-groups is likely an indicator of a confounder. The vaccine does not protect against anything else than Covid19. Thus, with a data-set free of confounders, it should not favor the vaccinated. However, part of the discrepancy could also be inaccurate tests.
The strongest conclusion derivable from the data is perhaps how the vast majority of verified Covid19-deaths occur in people older than 70. While the relative effectiveness appears large in all age groups, the absolute difference in minuscule for young, and very small for adults. First at around the ages of 60-70 is a relatively larger difference observed.
The data shows how important age-stratification is. Covid19-mortality estimates without stratified age-groups are largely irrelevant for anyone younger than 70; they massively over-estimate the real risk.
- Favors vaccinated is defined as having taken at least one injection of any vaccine; Favors unvaccinated as having taken no injections.
- All statistics are computed from OHS: Deaths occurring between 1 January 2021 and 31 January 2022.
- The Age-standardised mortality rate approach is described here.
It's worthwhile to note that the effectiveness metric is not symmetric in its magnitude due to its mathematical definition. I.e., if getting vaccinated is twice as good as staying unvaccinated, the effectiveness is 50%. If instead staying unvaccinated is twice as good as getting vaccinated, the effectiveness is -100%.
Mathematically, compare: with
This property is somewhat unattractive, as the negative effectiveness appears larger than a comparable positive effectiveness.
It is the standard metric in the medical community, which is why we also use it. When it was defined, large negative values were likely not expected.