expert reaction to COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report: Week 26, including analysis of vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease in adults under the age of 40


Public Health England (PHE) has published its latest weekly COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report, including analysis of vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease in adults under the age of 40.


Dr Peter English, Retired Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, Former Editor of Vaccines in Practice, Immediate past Chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee, said:

“These data are very encouraging.

“As older people were prioritised for vaccination, fewer younger people have been vaccinated. And younger people, being lower risk, are less likely to require hospital admission if they become a case anyway. This probably explains why the data on under-forties relates only to symptomatic disease: there will have been two few hospital admissions for robust estimates of effectiveness against hospital admission. There is, however, no reason to assume that effectiveness against serious disease is lower in younger age groups, and the data eg on page 19, and perhaps especially in Table 5 on page 10 (which shows excellent and near-identical effectiveness against both the alpha and delta variants) shows that vaccination really is effective at preventing hospitalisation.

“I imagine that in due course these reports might start to include data on vaccine effectiveness against ‘long covid’.  With such a high proportion of the population already having had Covid-19, and with the disease expected to continue transmitting at very high levels in younger, only-recently-vaccinated and as-yet-unvaccinated groups, this will become increasingly important. If people have lung, brain, or other organ damage it can reduce their contribution to society and increase their need for care for years – perhaps for the rest of their lives.”



All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:



Declared interests

Dr Peter English: No conflicts of interest to declare.