Covid: the regions of England with the highest coronavirus antibody protection levels

Data published by the Office for National Statistics shows regional variations in antibody protection around England - here’s how your local region compares.

Around four in five people in England have high levels of antibodies against Covid-19, new figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show – but residents of some regions have less protection.

The percentage of people aged 16 years and over, estimated to have antibodies against the virus at or above 800 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) in England was 80.6%, based on data for the week beginning 28 November 2022.

In Wales the proportion of the population estimated to have high levels of antibodies was 79.7%, while in Scotland 79.6% of the population was estimated to have protection. In Northern Ireland 78.3% were estimated to have antibodies.

Antibody positivity is defined by having a fixed concentration of antibodies in the blood which protects against Covid. The ONS gathers this information through its Coronavirus Infection Survey which tests blood samples from members of private households.

The ONS also measures antibodies at a lower level of concentration, such as 179 ng/ml, which was tailored to the level of protection needed against the Delta variant. Over 97% of England’s population have antibodies to this level, although this is unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant, the ONS said.

Antibodies come from infection and vaccination and it can take between two and three weeks after either event for the body to make enough antibodies to fight Covid. Once infected or vaccinated, antibodies remain in the blood at low levels and can decline over time. Antibodies can prevent people from getting Covid again.

Not having antibodies does not necessarily mean no protection against Covid. The ONS said there are other parts of the immune system that will offer protection, for example, a person’s T-cell response, which will not be detected by blood tests for antibodies. Health conditions and age can also affect a person’s immune system.

The latest figures published by the ONS shows regional variations in antibody protection around England. Here we reveal the greatest protection levels based on samples taken in the week beginning 28 November 2022.

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