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Background On December 8th 2020, NHS England administered the first COVID-19 vaccination as part of an ambitious vaccination programme during a global health emergency. Aims To describe trends and variation in vaccine coverage by key clinical and demographic groups; to create a framework for near-real-time monitoring of vaccine coverage in key subgroups. Methods Working on behalf of NHS England we analysed 57.9 million patient records in situ and in near-real-time within the infrastructure of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) software vendors EMIS and TPP using OpenSAFELY. We describe vaccine coverage and time trends across a range of demographic and fine-grained clinical subgroups in eight Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority cohorts. Results 20,852,692 patients (36%) received a COVID-19 vaccine between December 8th 2020 and March 17th 2021. Of patients aged ≥80 not in a care home (JCVI group 2) 94.7% received a vaccine, but with substantial variation by ethnicity (White 96.2% vaccinated, Black 68.3%) and deprivation (least deprived 96.6%, most deprived 90.7%). Overall, patients with pre-existing medical conditions were equally or more likely to be vaccinated with two exceptions: severe mental illness (89.5% vaccinated) and learning disability (91.4%). 275,205 vaccine recipients were identified as care home residents (priority group 1; 91.2% coverage). 1,257,914 (6.0%) recipients have had a second dose. Detailed characteristics of recipients in all cohorts are reported. Conclusions The NHS in England has rapidly delivered mass vaccination. We were able to deploy a data monitoring framework using publicly auditable methods and a secure, in-situ processing model, using linked but pseudonymised patient-level NHS data on 57.9 million patients with very short delays from vaccine administration to completed analysis. Targeted activity may be needed to address lower vaccination coverage observed among certain key groups: ethnic minorities, those living in deprived areas, and people with severe mental illness or learning disabilities.

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Journal article

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The OpenSAFELY Collaborative