British health officials were reprimanded after publishing potentially misleading data that anti-vaxxers used to make claims about jabs not working.

After taking over the responsibilities from the now-defunct Public Health England (Public Health England), the UK Health Security Agency now publishes weekly monitoring reports.

The agency has seen that infection rates in fully-vaccinated adults are higher than those who have not been vaccinated over the past few weeks. 

Campaigners and anti-vaxx commentators have taken the data as evidence that Covid vaccines don’t work.

The UK's statistics watchdog says the UK Health Security Agency needs to do better at explaining its data after anti-vaxxers claimed a report by the body showing there were more Covid cases among vaccinated people than the unvaccinated was proof that Covid vaccines don't work. The data, replicated above, does show there were more cases among the vaccinated over 30s than their un-jabbed counterparts,  but behavioural reasons, like the vaccinated socialising more freely could partly explain the difference

The UK’s statistics watchdog said that the UK Health Security Agency must be better at explaining its data. Anti-vaxxers claimed that a report showing more Covid cases among people who had been vaccinated than their counterparts in the unvaccinated population was proof that Covid vaccinations don’t work. The data, replicated above, does show there were more cases among the vaccinated over 30s than their un-jabbed counterparts,  but behavioural reasons, like the vaccinated socialising more freely could partly explain the difference 

However, the UKHSA’s statistics watchdog has called for better explanations from the UKHSA. 

According to the Office of Statistics Regulation (OSR), UKHSA must be more effective in highlighting how the jabbed or unjabbed might be behaving differently, and use multiple data sets to present a more complete picture. 

After controversy over its presentation, the UKHSA already made a series amendments to the report.    

It now admits that its findings are ‘unadjusted.’ The data should not be used to compare jabbed and unjabbed populations, as there are likely’systematic variations’ between them.

This means that the vaccinated are more likely than others to have their blood tested as they are more ‘health conscious.

Ministers to receive crash courses on statistics to tackle ‘data illiteracy. 

Ministers will receive a ‘data masterclass to address the issue’statistical inliteracy’ within government. 

Crash courses have been offered in the civil service, but they will now be available to senior ministers as part of the Christmas preparations. 

It is in direct response to criticisms from Britain’s statistics watchdog about the way Covid data was presented during the pandemic.

The Office for Statistics Regulation stated that Covid statistics could not be supported by transparent information, provided in a timely fashion. 

Two areas in which the Government was previously criticized were testing data and Covid deaths numbers that were used to justify the second lockdown.

It is unknown who from Cabinet will attend the masterclasses or if Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, will be there. 

The country’s top statistician acknowledged that the workshops were successful, but also admitted that the problem can’t be fixed by “flicking a switch”. 

It also suggests Jabbed people might be more open to socialising and therefore more likely to contract the virus. 

Yesterday, OSR director general Ed Humpherson wrote to Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA boss, to express his appreciation for the changes.

He said that anti-vaxxers could still use the data to question vaccine effectiveness. 

“It remains the fact that the surveillance report includes rates for 100,000 which can be used as a basis to argue that vaccines do not work,” Mr Humpherson stated. 

“I know this is not the intention of your surveillance report, but it still has the potential to be misused.

“Publishing these data should address the possibility that it misleads people into believing that it contains information about vaccine effectiveness.”

He said that the UKHSA report must explain the behavioral differences between vaccinated people and those who are not vaccinated. This could explain why there are so many differences.  

Mr Humpherson said: “I don’t think your surveillance report goes far enough to explain this crucial point.” 

The latest data, published on October 28, showed that there were more cases than ever of Covid in all vaccinated people over 30 than their un-jabbed counterparts.

For example, 1936 cases were found among 100,000 fully vaccinated adults between the ages of 40 and 49, compared with 835 for the unvaccinated. 

Also, it should be noted that although anti-vaxxers claim that Covid vaccines don’t work, the same data clearly shows that jabs can reduce the risk of death and hospitalisation from the virus.  

Hospitalisations and deaths from Covid were three to five times more common in those who had not been vaccinated than in those who had received at least two doses. 

The UKHSA received a stern letter from OSR regarding another aspect of its letter. It was the choice of denominator to use for its Covid data.

The UKHSA’s report uses data from the National Immunisation Management Service. (NIMS), a weekly update dataset based upon people who have registered for NHS services.

However, NIMS is likely to underestimate the population eligible, partly because people do not change their NHS registration details when they move. It may therefore underestimate vaccine uptake.

Mr Humpherson has suggested UKHSA also use ONS population estimates, like the Government’s Covid dashboard does. 

He said, “Given these multiple uncertainties it is good that your are working with colleagues at the ONS to determine the best denominator for these calculations,” 

“In the meantime, you should consider putting out these uncertainties more clearly. This includes publishing the rates per 100,000 using both numerators and making it clear in the table (perhaps through formatting) that the column showing the case rates in unvaccinated persons is of particular concern.

We reached out to the UKHSA for comment. 

The handling of Covid statistics by the Government has been under fire during the pandemic. Ministers were scolded for how data is used.

Last November Number 10 was criticised by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) for not being transparent enough with the data used to justify England’s second lockdown. 

In June 2020, Sir David Norgrove, UKSA chairman, wrote to Matt Hancock, Health Secretary at the time. He stated that the information he was using about Covid testing was ‘far from complete’, and’misleading.

Recently, it was revealed that Ministers of Government will receive a “data masterclass” to address the problem of “statistical literacy”.

Crash courses have been offered in the civil service, but they will now be available to senior ministers as part of the Christmas preparations. 

It is not yet known who in Cabinet will attend the masterclasses, or if Boris Johnson will be there. 

Double-vaccinated patients still have a 25% chance to catch Covid if a family member is jabbed positive

 Double-jabbed people still have a one in four chance of catching Covid from an infected household member, according to a study by ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Fergusson.  

This is even true if the person infected was fully vaccinated, according to Imperial College London researchers.

But the risk to unvaccinated household members was even greater, with a 38 per cent chance of catching the virus from infected household members.    

Professor Ajit Lalvani, Imperial College of London’s chair on infections diseases Contributors to the study The results showed that there was still a significant chance of infection, even if you have the Coivd vaccine. 

‘Even if that person is double vaccinated they tend to transmit infection to other household members,’ he said. 

‘About one in four people exposed in the household to a breakthrough case get infected, which is quite a large number.’

But Professor Lalvani said the risk of Covid infection was even greater for unvaccinated household members, proving the merits of getting a vaccine.

‘When we looked at unvaccinated contacts in the households their risk of acquiring infection was around 38 per cent,’ he said. 

‘This means that the vaccine is still effective at reducing the risk of transmission, in this case from 38 per cent to 25 per cent.’

Professor Lalvani explained that the real difference was in what happens after infection.

He stated that because they are twice vaccinated, they are less likely to contract mild illness or symptomless infection.

“When unvaccinated people are infected, they are at high risk of serious illnesses, hospitalisations, and even death.”