Half of people in most parts of UK have Covid-19 antibodies, figures suggest
By Ian Jones, PA
About one in two people in most parts of the UK now have Covid-19 antibodies, new figures suggest.
Some 54.7% of people in private households in England are likely to have tested positive for the antibodies in the week to March 14, along with 50.5% in Wales and 49.3% in Northern Ireland, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Regional estimates range from 60.0% for north-west England to 50.3% for south-east England.
In Scotland about two in five people (42.6%) are likely to have tested positive for antibodies in the week to March 14.
The figures are for people in private households and do not include settings such as hospitals and care homes.
The presence of coronavirus antibodies suggests someone has either had Covid-19 in the past or has been vaccinated.
It takes between two and three weeks after infection or vaccination for the human body to make enough antibodies to fight Covid-19.
A total of 30.7 million people in the UK have now had a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the latest figures from the Government.
Some 3.8 million have received both doses.
The number of first doses reported for March 29 was 236,119 – the lowest daily figure since March 9.
It is likely that the daily number of first doses will continue to fall over the next few weeks, as vaccine supplies are focused on giving second doses to people who had their initial jab in January and early February.
The ONS figures also show 86.0% of people aged 80 and over in private households in England are likely to have Covid-19 antibodies.
Because care home residents were also among the priority groups for the vaccine, the true figure for antibodies among those aged 80 and over may be different, the ONS said.
In Wales, an estimated 79.2% of people aged 80 and over were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in the week to March 14, while in Scotland the estimate is 74.0%.
In Northern Ireland, the ONS uses different age groups due to small sample sizes and estimates 76.4% of people aged 70 and over were likely to have tested positive for antibodies in this period.