Positive COVID-19 test rates by age group must be monitored as the vaccination campaign continues in the UK

COVID-19 cases and deaths in the UK have finally started to decrease after the country entered into the third national lockdown at the beginning of January. As the UK looks to re-open its economy, monitoring age-specific rates is vital to prevent a further resurgence of cases before the national vaccination program is complete, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Approximately 68,000 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on January 8, 2021, which is the highest daily total the country has seen since the pandemic began. Following the introduction of a national lockdown, which forced the closure of schools and all non-essential business, cases started to fall, with approximately 21,000 new cases recorded on February 4, 2021.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData, comments: “Restricting public interaction through lockdown measures is clearly an effective method of reducing the positive COVID-19 cases in all ages.”

The UK has made a huge effort with its vaccine rollout, with 13 million people now thought to have received their first dose of the vaccine. The government aims to offer the vaccine to all people ages 70 and over in the coming weeks.

Wrenn continues: “We should expect that the positive COVID-19 test rate for the 70 and older age group will see no further rise due to their being prioritized for the vaccine rollout. However, this depends on lockdown measures and attitudes in this age group not being relaxed too soon.”

With a three-week grace period after receiving the first injection, it will not be until mid-March that this age group can solely rely on the vaccine for protection. Public willingness to take the vaccine will also play a role here.

Wrenn concludes: “It is essential that the public in all age groups do not become complacent to current restrictions. In the easing of lockdown measures, particularly in settings where certain age groups have yet to receive a vaccine, age-specific rates must be scrutinized to prevent case numbers from rising again.”

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