On 20 January 2023 OSR responded to concerns raised with us regarding Deaths by Vaccination Status statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Our response clearly states that extensive analyses of vaccine effectiveness are available in the weekly COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report, published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). This covers a range of measures of vaccine effectiveness, including demonstrating effectiveness against infection, transmission, hospitalisation and mortality. We state that the UKHSA report provides a list of other publications by UKHSA and its collaborators which analyse the effectiveness of the vaccines. We also highlight that the ONS made clear that the Deaths by Vaccination Status analysis is not intended to be, nor is it appropriate for, understanding vaccine effectiveness or safety.

Our letter explains that the sample used in the ONS Deaths by Vaccination Status publication is not representative of the general population – this is also explained by ONS in its publications. ONS is working to address some of the sampling issues present in the first six iterations of the publication, with the next iteration due to be published on 21 February. In our letter we disagree with the concerns raised that ONS is systematically undercounting deaths within the first two weeks of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. ONS has confirmed that it does receive data in these instances, and that the death would fall into the ‘vaccinated’ category.

To interpret our letter in any other way than described above would be inappropriate and misleading. Read our letter in full.