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Covid antibody levels are tumbling in the elderly, reveals new Government data. We must not let over-70s become booster jab guinea pigs, says expert

Covid antibody levels are tumbling in the elderly, reveals new Government data. We must not let over-70s become booster jab guinea pigs, says expert.


A new ONS Covid antibody and vaccination data report reveals falling antibody levels for the over 70s, with the steepest decline in the very elderly. With only the most vulnerable 1% so far confirmed to get a booster jab, the new national antibody test programme needs to be urgently ramped up to find out how long vaccination protection lasts, urges London Medical Laboratory.


The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) Covid-19 antibody and vaccination data survey reveals that antibody levels are now falling among the elderly. The Covid testing expert London Medical Laboratory warns protection levels are now lower for the oldest age groups, who were first to receive two jabs.

Dr. Quinton Fivelman, PhD, the Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory, has just authored the White Paper ‘Has your vaccine worked? Are you immune to Covid-19?’. He warns: ‘The facts are clear. The latest Infection Survey from the ONS reveals that 92% of over-80s are still testing positive for Covid antibodies in their blood, down from 94.4% in its 7 July report. We expect these numbers to continue falling.’

Says Dr Fivelman: ‘Ironically, because the most elderly and vulnerable were the first people to receive both jabs, they are the first to begin losing their level of protection, just as colder weather approaches. Covid levels are likely to climb during the autumn and winter, and we will see this compounded with other illnesses like flu.

‘The new Government survey acknowledges: “We are starting to see a decline in the percentage of people testing positive for antibodies amongst the oldest age groups… Since the end of July 2021, antibody positivity has decreased among those aged 70 years and over.”

‘Clearly, we need more data about how fast antibody levels are falling. Those who are most frail must not be the first to lose vital protection. So far, only the most vulnerable 1% of society are certain to receive a third jab, those with a severely weakened immune system. It's now September and we are still waiting to find out about who else will receive a booster jab. The Government is still planning its autumn booster campaign but expert opinion from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) seems divided. Perhaps the hard numbers in the ONS survey will help clarify things.

'This week, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is scheduled to introduce a new national antibody testing programme, but it’s only open to those who have opted in and then had a positive PCR test. It’s a good start, but it’s going to be a very slow build-up of information. This week’s ONS antibody and vaccination report shows we need an urgent, detailed picture of how swiftly antibody levels are declining and the impact of this on the elderly and most vulnerable.

‘We agree with the ONS’ analysis that most older people who are vaccinated will retain higher antibody levels than prior to vaccination, but the number of antibodies in their blood is rapidly falling. We see this from our own laboratory studies with our antibody tests. We cannot let our elderly be guinea pigs on whom we test how long antibodies remain effective.

Researchers in Australia have found correlations between the efficacy of flu jabs and coronavirus vaccinations. It appears probable that immunity to severe infection may be much more durable over time than overall immunity to reinfection, but that any reinfection is usually mild. The protective efficacy was found to decline by about 7% per month after the influenza vaccination. This might give some indication of how Covid-19 vaccines will perform over time.

‘If anyone is concerned about their own immune response to the jabs and how well they continue to produce antibodies, the new generation tests we offer are highly accurate, quick and simple to carry out, either in their own home or at a clinic. These tests are available privately for those who don’t qualify for the Government’s new programme.

‘For the latest information about the level of protection vaccinations offer against Covid-19, see London Medical Laboratory’s new White Paper at:

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Last Updated: 03-Sep-2021