Chris Whitty has used a single graphic to lay bare the effectiveness of vaccines in curbing Covid as he urged British people to get the jab ahead of winter.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference as Boris Johnson unveiled the plan for avoiding a crisis during the colder months, England’s chief medical officer used a series of slides to explain why people were much more likely to become seriously ill from coronavirus if they were not vaccinated.
One particular graph using Public Health England data showed the rate of Covid-19 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for various age groups, with the rate of death being significantly lower for those who are double jabbed.
In the 70 to 79 age category, the rate of deaths was just 9.2 per 100,000 cases among the vaccinated.
But the rate was more than five times higher – 52.1 deaths per 100,000 cases – among those who had not taken a Covid vaccine.
In the 50 to 59 age group vaccinated people recorded 1 death per 100,000 cases compared to 9.7 per 100,000 if people were without immunisation.
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Whitty pointed to data showing a similar trend for serious illness, adding that in every age bracket there is a “very substantially smaller” risk of being admitted to hospital with Covid if someone is vaccinated compared to those who are not jabbed.
He added: “If you just do a very crude look at the numbers, someone who is in their 30s and unvaccinated is running about the same risk as someone in their 70s who is vaccinated. It’s that level of difference.
“One of the most depressing things for doctors, including myself, is talking to people who have just chosen not to get vaccinated because it wasn’t convenient at that particular moment and you see them being wheeled down to intensive care, and you know this was a very serious problem as a result of them not being vaccinated.”
He said people must encourage “everybody we know to get vaccinated” and that for most people it is not that they are anti-vaccination, but rather they just have not got around to doing it.
Whitty added: “We’re about to enter winter. Winter is coming and people really should take this seriously.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.