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Antibodies against coronavirus (COVID-19)


The presence of antibodies to COVID-19 suggests that a person previously had the infection or has been vaccinated. In the week beginning 28 June 2021, the percentage of adults that would have tested positive for antibodies is estimated to be:

  • 91.9% in England 

  • 92.6% in Wales 

  • 90.0% in Northern Ireland 

  • 88.6% in Scotland

COVID-19 antibody positivity remained highest in older age groups across the UK. The East Midlands had the highest antibody positivity among English regions.

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Antibodies

Across all four UK countries, there is a clear pattern between vaccination and testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies

Modelled percentage of: adults testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, adults who have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine; and fully vaccinated adults, UK country, 7 December 2020 to 4 July 2021

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An estimated 91.9% of the adult population in England, 92.6% in Wales, 90.0% in Northern Ireland and 88.6% in Scotland tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in the week beginning 28 June 2021. The presence of antibodies suggests a person previously had COVID-19 or has been vaccinated.

Estimated vaccination rates continued to increase in the week beginning 28 June 2021. Across the four UK countries, 86.4% to 91.4% had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 61.2% to 72.7% are fully vaccinated. These vaccination estimates will differ from daily official government figures, which are actual numbers of vaccines recorded. 

Last updated: 21/07/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: antibody data for the UK

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The Coronavirus Infection Survey, Public Health England surveillance data from NHS blood donors and REACT-2 show similar trends in antibody positivity

Estimated percentage of the community population testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, 28 April 2020 to 4 July 2021, England

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The Coronavirus Infection Survey (CIS), PHE sero-surveillance data from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHS-BT) blood donors, and Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) show similar trends in antibody positivity. The proportion of people testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies in England increased between December 2020 and July 2021. Overall REACT-2 estimates are slightly lower, which could be because the REACT-2 test is self-administered, while CIS and NHS-BT test blood samples taken by a health professional. NHS-BT estimates lag behind CIS because they are four-week averages, rather than weekly estimates. 

Last updated: 21/07/2021

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Around a quarter of school staff had antibodies against COVID-19 from past infection in May 2021

Percentage of staff testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies in primary and secondary schools, 3 to 20 November 2020 (Round 1), 30 November to 11 December 2020 (Round 2), 15 to 31 March 2021 (Round 4) and 5 to 21 May 2021 (Round 5), England

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The percentage of staff testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies continued to increase, for both primary school and secondary school staff between Round 4 (15 to 31 March 2021) and Round 5 (5 to 21 May 2021). The antibody test used in this study detects antibodies produced following an infection and not vaccination. 

You can read more about antibody testing in different surveys on our more information page. Caution is needed when interpreting these results as they are not intended to be generally applicable to all schools in England. 

Last updated: 01/07/2021 

Read more about this in COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey Round 5, England: May 2021

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Antibodies by age

COVID-19 antibody positivity and vaccination rates increase with age

Modelled percentage of: adults testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, adults who have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine; and fully vaccinated adults, by grouped age, UK countries, 7 December 2020 to 4 July 2021

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Antibody positivity increases with age, reflecting age prioritisation in vaccination programmes. In recent weeks, antibody positivity continued to increase in those aged 25 to 49 years in England and Northern Ireland, and in those aged 16 to 49 years in Wales and Scotland (to week beginning 28 June 2021).

Vaccination rates are lowest in younger age groups but are increasing. Across the four UK countries, the estimated percentage of adults aged 25 to 34 who have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccination ranged from 78.3% to 87.7%. This has increased sharply since the end of May.

Last updated: 21/07/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: antibody data for the UK

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Percentages testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies by single year of age

Modelled percentage of adults testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, by single year of age, UK countries, 12 May to 4 July 2021

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Antibody positivity has risen for most ages in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Scotland. The effect of individuals receiving the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is observed in the older ages, with antibody positivity flattening and then increasing recently in those in their 50s.

We can examine the changes in antibody positivity over shorter periods by using modelled daily estimates, presented in this graphic. The method used to generate the data differs slightly to the weekly modelled estimates of antibody positivity so they are not comparable.

Last updated: 21/07/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: antibody data for the UK

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Antibodies by region

COVID-19 antibody positivity and vaccination rates continued to increase across all English regions

Modelled percentage of: adults testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, adults who have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine; and fully vaccinated adults, regions in England, 7 December 2020 to 4 July 2021

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Antibody positivity continued to increase across all regions in England, with estimates ranging from 89.5% in the North East to 91.7% in the East Midlands (week beginning 28 June 2021).

The estimated percentage of adults who have received at least one dose of a vaccine also continued to increase across regions, ranging from 89.5% in the North East to 92.2% in the South East. Those who reported they are fully vaccinated increased in all regions, ranging from 61.6% in London to 70.9% in the East of England.

Last updated: 21/07/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: antibody data for the UK

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Further information


This page provides an overview of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, bringing together data from multiple sources. Each graphic provides a link to explore the topic further. See the more information page to read about different data sources used in the tool.

The tool is updated regularly when relevant data are published. This is typically at least twice a week, for example:

  • when weekly deaths registrations are published (usually on a Tuesday)

  • when results from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, and Opinions and Lifestyle Survey are published (usually on a Friday)

Daily updates on COVID-19 levels and vaccinations can be found on GOV.UK.

Some policy areas are devolved and more information is available for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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Contact

Latest insights team
infection.survey.analysis@ons.gov.uk