More than half of over-80s in England likely to have Covid-19 antibodies
By Ian Jones, PA
More than half of people aged 80 and over in private households in England now have Covid-19 antibodies, new figures suggest.
Some 56.4% are likely to have tested positive for the antibodies in the 28 days to February 11, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This was “most likely because of the high vaccination rate in this group”, the ONS said.
People aged 80 and over were among the earliest groups to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, with first doses being offered from early December.
The equivalent estimate for 75 to 79 year-olds is 24.9%, while for 70 to 74 year-olds it is 16.6%.
The presence of Covid-19 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 the virus.
The latest estimates do not include people in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings.
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 18.5% of people in private households aged 80 and over were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in the 28 days to February 11, while in Scotland the estimate is 20.7%.
In Northern Ireland, the ONS uses different age groups due to small sample sizes, and estimates 17.6% of people aged 70 and over were likely to have tested positive for antibodies in this period.
Among all age groups in private households, an estimated one in four people in England were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in the 28 days to February 11, up from one in seven in the 28 days to January 14.
The estimate for Wales is one in six, up from one in nine; for Northern Ireland it is one in six, up from one in eight; and for Scotland it is one in eight, up from one in nine.
London continues to have the highest level of antibody positivity among the regions of England, with an estimated 29.1% for the 28 days to February 11, while south-west England has the lowest at 16.3%.