It seems to be blaming influenza for the huge number of deaths, but the vaccine has turned out to be much more effective than originally thought.
Oh, but fewer people sought GP treatment for the disease. How many fewer?
You see, the gap between 17-18,000 and 44,000 is hefty. If the flu vaccine was 50 per cent effective in 2013/14 and only 34 per cent effective in 2014/15, that indicates 22,440 deaths. The actual number was almost twice as high.
Is the ONS saying the extra deaths were entirely due to people not having the jab or seeking treatment when symptoms presented? That’s a little far-fetched.
This Writer suspects the Department for Work and Pensions might be able to illuminate us regarding some of the extra fatalities.
What do you think?
And, will we have to wait two years before the DWP finally releases any statistical information?
The number of excess winter deaths in 2014/15 was the highest of the last 15 years
Excess winter mortality, the difference between the average number of deaths over the winter and the rest of the year, has decreased significantly since the 1950s. This is thanks to improvements in healthcare, home insulation and the introduction of the influenza vaccination programme. However, after a drop in 2013/14, deaths increased substantially in 2014/15.
Between December 2014 and March 2015 there were 44,000 excess winter deaths, 2.5 times higher than the record low of the previous winter, and the highest number since the winter of 1999/2000 when flu levels were very high.
Early estimates in the winter 2014/15 flu season suggested the flu vaccine was only effective in around 3 in 100 cases. However, updated estimates by Public Health England showed the effectiveness to be closer to 34%. In previous years the vaccine has been around 50% effective, coinciding with a far lower number of excess winter deaths.
During the most recent winter, fewer people went to see their GP about Influenza-like illness than in 2010/11, when there was a sharp peak in late December 2010-early January 2011.
Yet mortality in 2014/15 was much higher.
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