Latest findings from antibody surveillance study
Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI have published their latest antibody surveillance report tracking COVID-19 infection across England.
Over 154,000 participants took part in a home surveillance study for COVID-19 antibodies between 26 January and 8 February. For the first time, the study captured participants who had received a COVID-19 vaccine, and also gathered insight into how different groups felt about vaccines.
The results showed that 13.9% of the population had antibodies either from infection or vaccination. Over 17,000 said they had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. The data shows 87.9% of people over the age of 80 tested positive for antibodies after two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, rising to 95.5% for those under the age of 60 and 100% in those aged under 30.
The findings show high confidence levels in the vaccine. Over 90% of those surveyed reported that they would be willing to accept, or had already had, a vaccination for COVID-19.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "These findings shed more light on rates of antibodies across the UK and among different groups, as we continue to strengthen our understanding of COVID-19. It is fantastic to see over 90% of people surveyed would accept or had already accepted a vaccine, as we continue to expand the roll-out.
"I urge anyone who has been invited for a vaccine to book an appointment. And while we are seeing rates of the virus gradually decline it is important we all hold our resolve and follow the rules as we deliver on our cautious but irreversible approach to easing lockdown."
Other key findings included:
- Antibody prevalence in unvaccinated people remains highest in London (16.9%), and in people of black (22.1%) and Asian (20%) ethnicities, and those aged 18 to 24 years (14.5%).
- Vaccine confidence varied by age, sex and also by ethnicity, highest in those of white (92.6%) and lowest of black (72.5%) ethnicity.
The findings on antibody response following a single dose align with existing research that suggests those aged over 80 take longer to develop an antibody response to infection and the immune response is not as strong.