No Covid-19 deaths notified in over-65s last week as vaccines take hold

HSE hails ‘big collapse’ in infections and death in the elderly

Annie Lynch (79), who was the first person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Annie Lynch (79), who was the first person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

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Vaccination is leading to a “big collapse” in Covid-19 infections and deaths among older people, with no deaths notified last week, HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry has said.

The fall-off in infections and deaths among older people cannot be explained alone by the general fall in cases across the State, he told a HSE media briefing yesterday.

In week 13 of the year, the seven days to April 6th, no deaths among over-65s from Covid-19 were notified to health authorities. This contrasted with 581 deaths among over-65s in the second week of the year, when the disease was surging after restrictions were eased for the Christmas period.

The number of notified deaths from Covid-19 among over-65s has been fewer than 20 in each of the past five weeks.

Dr Henry said a small number of deaths in that age category could yet be notified at a later date, but the numbers were not likely to be significant. Deaths among over-65s account for 92 per cent of all deaths in the State from Covid-19.

So far in April just 12 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19, compared with 1,400 in January, 800 in February and 200 in March.

There has also been a 95 per cent drop in the number of cases among people the over-75s, the vast majority of whom have received at least one vaccine dose. In the second week of the year, the number of cases among over-75s peaked at 2,237 but had last week fallen to just 102.

In the week to April 6th, just 33 people over 85 were confirmed as having Covid-19. In the first week of January, before mass vaccinations of the elderly began, there were 759 cases in this age group.

The over-85s account for 42 per cent of all deaths in the State from Covid-19.

“We know that the vaccinations are particularly successful in preventing serious illness and death in the elderly,” Dr Henry said.

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