You asked

​Could you please let me know the total number of deaths in the UK in (1) December 2020 and (2) January 2021 which occurred within 28 days of the deceased receiving a coronavirus vaccine.

We said

Thank you for your request.

We are responsible for mortality data for England and Wales. For Scotland and Northern Ireland data you will need to contact National Records of Scotland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Centre, respectively.

Our mortality data is derived from the formal process of death registration and may include cases where the doctor completing the death certificate diagnosed possible cases of COVID-19, for example, where this was based on relevant symptoms but no test for the virus was conducted.

You can find the number of deaths involving COVID-19 in table 12 of our Monthly Mortality Analysis, these include figures for deaths involving adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccination. There are currently 0 deaths registered with the aligning ICD codes for this. However, should this change, they will be updated in this table.

We are currently developing our analytical plans with an intention to publish detailed vaccination statistics soon. Once we have finalised these plans a publication date will be announced on our Release Calendar. As such, this information is considered exempt under Section 22(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, whereby information is exempt from release if there is a view to publish the information in the future. Furthermore, as a central government department and producer of official statistics, we need to have the freedom to be able to determine our own publication timetables. This is to allow us to deal with the necessary preparation, administration and context of publications. It would be unreasonable to consider disclosure when to do so would undermine our functions.

This exemption is subject to a public interest test. We recognise the desirability of information being freely available and this is considered by ONS when publication schedules are set in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. The need for timely data must be balanced against the practicalities of applying statistical skill and judgement to produce the high quality, assured data needed to inform decision-making. If this balance is incorrectly applied, then we run the risk of decisions being based on inaccurate data which is arguably not in the public interest.  This will have an impact on public trust in official statistics in a time when accuracy of official statistics is more important to the public than ever before.

If you would like to discuss these statistics further, please contact