Covid deaths of care home residents in England have fallen to their lowest level since the summer, new figures have shown, as experts said the booster programme was starting to show in the data.
Latest mortality data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that there were just 55 deaths in the week ending November 26 – the lowest it has been since August 13, when 53 were recorded.
The figures also show that over-80s are now accounting for fewer registered Covid deaths than those aged 60 to 79 for the first time since the summer, suggesting the first groups to receive the booster jab are seeing the biggest benefit.
Over-80s had accounted for 50.4 per cent of deaths as recently as the week ending October 29, but this has since fallen to 42.5 per cent.
The trend coincides with the rollout of booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine, which began among the oldest groups at the end of September.
John Roberts, of the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group, whose figures last month prompted an acceleration of the booster programme, said the care home data was "good news" that seemed to show the rollout was working.
All adults to be offered a booster by the end of January
Separate data from the ONS also showed that compared to an unvaccinated individual, the booster jab cuts the risk of a Covid infection to less than one fifth – a substantial improvement on two doses.
Kara Steel, senior statistician for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said the data "also suggest that booster vaccinations are having an impact in lowering the chances of people becoming infected”.
The Government has said it wants all adults to have been offered a booster by the end of January, with the Prime Minister vowing to "throw everything" at the vaccination campaign to tackle the spread of the omicron variant.
Scientists believe omicron could be more transmissible than the dominant delta variant and may render vaccines less effective, because of the extent of its mutations.
Everyone eligible is to be offered a booster jab by the end of January, with at least 400 military personnel helping the NHS and vaccination centres.
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said the vaccination programme will need to deliver one million more jabs a week to meet the Government’s target for Covid boosters.
Boosters have been estimated to give more than 90 per cent protection against symptomatic Covid-19 among adults aged 50 and over two weeks after the jab has been given.
A total of 952 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending November 19 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.
In total, 44,199 care home residents in England and Wales have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.