Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Covid-19 antibody levels jump among oldest age groups after spring booster jabs

New figures suggest that Covid-19 antibody levels among the oldest age groups have jumped sharply in recent months, following the rollout of spring booster jabs (Zoe Linkson/PA)
New figures suggest that Covid-19 antibody levels among the oldest age groups have jumped sharply in recent months, following the rollout of spring booster jabs (Zoe Linkson/PA)

Covid-19 antibody levels among the oldest age groups have jumped sharply in recent months, following the rollout of spring booster jabs, new figures suggest.

Some 94.3% of people aged 80 and over in England were likely to have antibodies at the start of July, up from 65.8% at the end of March.

Among 75- to 79-year-olds, the proportion stands at 93.1%, up from 62.8%.

The figures have been calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and use a higher threshold for measuring antibodies than in previous studies, in order to better reflect the proportion of people with the strongest possible antibody response to infection.

HEALTH Coronavirus Antibodies
(PA Graphics)

Under the lower threshold, antibody levels among the oldest age groups have remained over 90% since November last year.

The presence of coronavirus antibodies suggests someone has had the infection in the past or has been vaccinated.

The new figures are likely to reflect the impact of the spring booster campaign, which was launched in March this year and offered a fresh dose of vaccine to everyone in the UK aged 75 and over who was at least three months on from their most recent jab.

By contrast, antibody levels among people aged 70 to 74 at the highest threshold stood at 59.7% at the start of July, down from 64.9% in March.

Levels are still above 90% when measured using the lower threshold, however.

Another booster campaign will begin this autumn, in order to increase protection ahead of possible further waves of the virus – but this time the jab will be offered to everyone over the age of 50, rather than just over-75s.

Other groups eligible for the autumn jab will include frontline health and social care workers and those aged five to 49 in a clinical risk group, including pregnant women.

Some 74.9% of all adults in England were likely to have Covid-19 antibodies above the highest threshold at the start of July, the ONS said.

This is down slightly from 78.8% in March, but up from 67.0% at the beginning of the year.

All ONS estimates are based on a sample of blood test results from people in private households and are subject to uncertainty, given they are based on samples that are part of the wider population.

It takes between two and three weeks after infection – or vaccination – for the human body to make enough antibodies to fight coronavirus.

Levels are expected to decrease over time irrespective of vaccination or natural infection, especially when exposure to the virus is reduced, the ONS said.

This is because our bodies stop making antibodies when they are not needed.