Is the UK close to herd immunity?

April 15, 2021

According to the ZOE COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey figures, there are currently 1,601 new symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average, based on swab test data from up to five days ago [*]. This compares to 1,924 daily cases a week ago, a decrease of 17% from last week. In terms of prevalence, on average 1 in 1,969 people in the UK currently have symptomatic COVID. (Full table of regional results below).

Other key findings from ZOE COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey this week: 

  • The UK R value is 0.8
  • Regional R values are: England, 0.8, Wales, 0.8 Scotland, 0.7 (full regional breakdown included in table below) 
  • The average rate of prevalence for symptomatic disease across the UK is 1 in 1,969 (full regional breakdown included in the table below)
  • Over 1 million vaccines have been logged in the ZOE app. The data shows that regional vaccine uptake is above 60%, except for in London where uptake is lagging behind. These figures are in line with official data from the government

The ZOE COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey figures are based on around one million weekly reporters and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have received positive swab tests. The latest survey figures were based on data from 5,950 recent swab tests done between 27 March to 10 April 2021.

The app is delivered in collaboration with King’s Health Partners, an Academic Health Sciences Centre based in South East London.

Tim Spector OBE, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, comments on the latest data:
“As the UK slowly exits lockdown, I’m encouraged to see COVID cases continue to fall with our rates among the lowest in Europe. In fact, the UK closely mirrors cases in Israel with its exemplar vaccine programme. Based on our data and countries like Israel, I believe the fall in cases since January is mainly thanks to the vaccination programme and less about the strict lockdown the UK has been under since late December. With up to 60% of the population vaccinated and around 5-10% with natural immunity due to infection, we’re starting to see herd immunity take effect. This should prevent future large-scale outbreaks. However, we do expect to see  smaller, manageable outbreaks in the coming weeks and months among groups which are yet to be vaccinated.”

Watch Professor Spector’s weekly update video for more on herd immunity and the latest data.


Incidence (daily new symptomatic cases)[*], R values and prevalence regional breakdown table




The ZOE COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey results over time 

A graph comparing all surveillance surveys in England (ONS, REACT-1 & CSS) 

Map of UK prevalence figures



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