Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer, Michael McBride, yesterday was quoted in several newspapers as claiming that 10,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the week “since” mandatory Digital Health IDs were announced on the 17th November 2021.
He is quoted as saying,
We’ve seen 10,000 people come forward for first doses [in the week since mandatory Health IDs were announced] – that’s quite remarkable…it opens up that pathway into hospitality and I think there’s no doubt there is evidence that people will get the vaccine because they recognise that it opens doors into pubs and restaurants and allows people to get their lives back.Belfast Telegraph
This was then followed by a media blitz as the claim was picked up and amplified, unchecked,
The Irish News would claim,
Northern Ireland has witnessed a surge in people coming forward for their first vaccination since the Covid certification scheme was announced, the chief medical officer has said.Irish News
So what does the data show?
Looking at the Department of Health Vaccination Dashboard, current as of 15:18 on the 25/11/21, it looks like this:
What we are interested in here is the middle column entitled “Vaccination (Dose 1)”.
On the 24th November (yesterday) Michael McBride said:
“We’ve seen 10,000 people come forward for first doses [in the last week alone].”
If we are to take him literally, the “the last week” would be from the 17th November to 24th, the day he made the claim. Unless his weeks are different from ours.
We therefore carry out a quick calculation by taking the total number of 1st dose vaccinations delivered by the 24th and subtracting the total number of 1st dose vaccinations delivered to the 17th.
1,360,568 – 1,353,204 = 7,364
The media were clearly attempting to sell McBride’s claims of 10,000 1st doses being as a direct result of the announcement of mandatory Digital Health IDs. The pitch seems to have been, ‘Hey, see threats work!’ But there’s an issue with that pitch.
Digital Health IDs were announced by the Executive on the 17th November 2021. If we look at the data for the 7-day period prior to the announcement, so the period from the 10th November to the 17th, it looks like this,
Carrying out the same simple calculation as above, then,
1,353,204 – 1,341,780 = 11,424
So in the immediate 7 days prior to the mandatory Health ID announcement, there were 4,060 more 1st doses injected into arms than in the 7 days after the announcement was made. This is important to note for those who wish to suggest that 1st dose vaccination uptake has increased since mandatory Digital Health IDs were announced.
Going by the data on the Department of Health’s own Dashboard, current as of 15:18 on the 25th November, it points to there being a 35% drop in first doses in the 7-day period since the announcement when compared with the 7-day period immediately prior to the announcement.
Below is the interview Michael McBride gave to the media.
The Department of Health has just tweeted out some interesting stats on the age ranges of people who have taken their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines over the past two weeks. (We’ve saved the tweet in case it gets removed).
As shown above, Michael McBride spoke on the 24th November and referred to numbers from “the last week” wherein he claimed 10,000 people had their first vaccine dose. We showed the Dashboard data has recorded 7,364 1st doses in that period, not 10,000. Now, the Department of Health have confirmed that the timescale McBride was referring was the 18th to 24th November. They also drop a bombshell. Regardless of whether there were 10,000 or 7,000 first doses, we now learn that only 2,735 of those were for adults aged 18+. That is significant, as the media and McBride himself pointed to the introduction of mandated Digital Health IDs as the driving factor for these (10k) people coming forward.
But also, it is, it opens up the pathway into hospitality and I think there’s no doubt there is evidence that people will get the vaccine because they recognise that it opens doors to pubs and restaurants and allows people to get their lives back.Michael McBride
So what does this tell us? Even if we take Michael McBride’s claim at face-value, of there being 10,000 1st dose vaccinations in the previous week due to the introduction of the Digital Health IDs, then that falls on its own sword too as the Department of Health now claim only 2,735 of those jabs were in the 18+ age category. There is simply no benefit or reason why these health IDs would have coaxed 7,265 under 18s to get jabbed. And for the media or McBride to claim otherwise, is indeed suspicious.
We’ll continue to monitor the Vaccine Dashboard and media claims as we move forward into the Christmas period.
*Graph added 28/11/21