An analysis of Public Health England's vaccination data for care home workers immediately preceding a 'Roadmap out of COVID-19 Lockdown'.
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Background On March 8th 2021, a Roadmap out of COVID-19 Lockdown was activated, informed by Public Health England's (PHE) surveillance and open access reporting of infection and vaccination rates.1 The PHE open dataset used for the Roadmap was published on 25th February 2021, and included total number of first and second vaccinations in England and vaccination count of all older adult care home workers.2 Children returned to school, based on the government's impression that vaccination rates for people in the priority levels were sufficient.1 Acknowledging the vulnerability of older adult care home residents to COVID-19, the Scientific Advisory Group (SAGE) recommended an 80% vaccine uptake in older adult care home workers. While the rationale behind the 80% remains largely unreported, it was felt to be a critical factor in achieving the aims of the vaccination programme,3 namely: to open up society; to prevent healthcare from becoming overwhelmed; and to reduce severe illness.4 By 25th February, all older adult care home workers had been offered a first vaccination5 and a decision had been made to proceed with the Roadmap. An assumption could therefore be made that >80% of older adult care home workers in all regions, regardless of the infection rate, had at this point been vaccinated with at least a single vaccination. It is, however, plausible that care home workers in regions of high infection rates, particularly in the North West and Midlands, may have a vaccination rate in excess of 80%. In this commentary, we analyse the 25th February data from PHE to test these theories and explore the following questions (Q): Q1. What was the percentage first vaccine uptake by older adult care home staff across England immediately ahead of the Roadmap out of COVID-19 Lockdown? Q2. Did this consistently achieve 80% in all regions of England? Q3. Was there a difference in vaccine uptake across regions in England?
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