Injecting some positivity

February 15, 2021 • Reading time 2 minutes

Published 15 February 2021

It has been a reasonably gloomy few months, but yesterday was a day to be… more positive. Edge turned four, and data continued to emerge on the success of the vaccine programme.

When Ed and I started working together a little over 16-years ago, we did not expect to start Edge. And when we began Edge four years ago with Christian, we did not expect a pandemic – although we were the first to publicly quantify its possibly devastating impact on the NHS (read more on the impact of Edge at four here).

The last year has been challenging on several levels, and it is hard not to doomcast the next problem, but this has started to change with the vaccinations. A number of the vaccine candidates achieved tremendous levels of efficacy in trials and got regulatory approvals.

Over 15 million jabs later and we are starting to see the effectiveness of the vaccine programme in the UK in the data – see orange ring in the chart below.

Since the week ending 30th of January, Covid-19 deaths in people aged over 80 (a priority group for vaccination) have fallen by 48%, compared to 39% in those under 80. To put it another way, deaths in the older age group have fallen 25% more quickly. It is this relative fall in Covid-19 deaths in people aged over 80 which can be seen in the chart above.

Data sceptics will argue there is a lot of noise in the data, and it is still too early to draw any firm conclusions. This is partially true, but we forecast and expected the current drop just over three weeks ago based on vaccination policy. This forecast now seems to be showing in the data, which lines up with evidence from other countries that are further ahead with their vaccine programmes, such as Israel.

There is still a lot to be done on the vaccination programme, and the pandemic is far from over. Yet, it cannot be overstated how lucky we are that the vaccination is so effective – seasonal flu vaccines are routinely around only 50% effective.

Hopefully next year it will be safe to celebrate Edge turning five in-person! In the meantime, you can read about the work we are most proud of from the last four years here.


Edge Health are a specialist UK healthcare analytics consultancy that use data and insights to improve the delivery of health and care services, so that better outcomes can be delivered more efficiently.