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1.
Vaccine ; 40(32): 4479-4487, 2022 Jul 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1882615

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: We investigated the potential association of COVID-19 vaccination with three acute neurological events: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), transverse myelitis and Bell's palsy. METHODS: With the approval of NHS England we analysed primary care data from >17 million patients in England linked to emergency care, hospital admission and mortality records in the OpenSAFELY platform. Separately for each vaccine brand, we used a self-controlled case series design to estimate the incidence rate ratio for each outcome in the period following vaccination (4-42 days for GBS, 4-28 days for transverse myelitis and Bell's palsy) compared to a within-person baseline, using conditional Poisson regression. RESULTS: Among 7,783,441 ChAdOx1 vaccinees, there was an increased rate of GBS (N = 517; incidence rate ratio 2·85; 95% CI2·33-3·47) and Bell's palsy (N = 5,350; 1·39; 1·27-1·53) following a first dose of ChAdOx1 vaccine, corresponding to 11.0 additional cases of GBS and 17.9 cases of Bell's palsy per 1 million vaccinees if causal. For GBS this applied to the first, but not the second, dose. There was no clear evidence of an association of ChAdOx1 vaccination with transverse myelitis (N = 199; 1·51; 0·96-2·37). Among 5,729,152 BNT162b2 vaccinees, there was no evidence of any association with GBS (N = 283; 1·09; 0·75-1·57), transverse myelitis (N = 109; 1·62; 0·86-3·03) or Bell's palsy (N = 3,609; 0·89; 0·76-1·03). Among 255,446 mRNA-1273 vaccine recipients there was no evidence of an association with Bell's palsy (N = 78; 0·88, 0·32-2·42). CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, but it is important to understand rare adverse events. We observed a short-term increased rate of Guillain-Barré syndrome and Bell's palsy after first dose of ChAdOx1 vaccine. The absolute risk, assuming a causal effect attributable to vaccination, was low.


Subject(s)
Bell Palsy , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Facial Paralysis , Guillain-Barre Syndrome , Myelitis, Transverse , 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273 , BNT162 Vaccine , Bell Palsy/chemically induced , Bell Palsy/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , England , Facial Paralysis/chemically induced , Facial Paralysis/epidemiology , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/chemically induced , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/epidemiology , Humans , Myelitis, Transverse/complications , Vaccination/adverse effects
2.
Br J Gen Pract ; 72(720): e456-e463, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1810374

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Early evidence has shown that anticoagulant reduces the risk of thrombotic events in those infected with COVID-19. However, evidence of the role of routinely prescribed oral anticoagulants (OACs) in COVID-19 outcomes is limited. AIM: To investigate the association between OACs and COVID-19 outcomes in those with atrial fibrillation and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2. DESIGN AND SETTING: On behalf of NHS England, a population-based cohort study was conducted. METHOD: The study used primary care data and pseudonymously-linked SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing data, hospital admissions, and death records from England. Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for COVID-19 outcomes comparing people with current OAC use versus non-use, accounting for age, sex, comorbidities, other medications, deprivation, and general practice. RESULTS: Of 71 103 people with atrial fibrillation and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2, there were 52 832 current OAC users and 18 271 non-users. No difference in risk of being tested for SARS-CoV-2 was associated with current use (adjusted HR [aHR] 0.99, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.95 to 1.04) versus non-use. A lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (aHR 0.77, 95% CI = 0.63 to 0.95) and a marginally lower risk of COVID-19-related death (aHR, 0.74, 95% CI = 0.53 to 1.04) were associated with current use versus non-use. CONCLUSION: Among those at low baseline stroke risk, people receiving OACs had a lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and severe COVID-19 outcomes than non-users; this might be explained by a causal effect of OACs in preventing severe COVID-19 outcomes or unmeasured confounding, including more cautious behaviours leading to reduced infection risk.


Subject(s)
Atrial Fibrillation , COVID-19 , Stroke , Administration, Oral , Anticoagulants/therapeutic use , Atrial Fibrillation/complications , Atrial Fibrillation/drug therapy , Atrial Fibrillation/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Stroke/drug therapy , Stroke/epidemiology , Stroke/prevention & control
3.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 14: 100295, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1747703

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Residents in care homes have been severely impacted by COVID-19. We describe trends in the mortality risk among residents of care homes compared to private homes. METHODS: On behalf of NHS England we used OpenSAFELY-TPP to calculate monthly age-standardised risks of death due to all causes and COVID-19 among adults aged >=65 years between 1/2/2019 and 31/03/2021. Care home residents were identified using linkage to Care and Quality Commission data. FINDINGS: We included 4,340,648 people aged 65 years or older on the 1st of February 2019, 2.2% of whom were classified as residing in a care or nursing home. Age-standardised mortality risks were approximately 10 times higher among care home residents compared to those in private housing in February 2019: comparative mortality figure (CMF) = 10.59 (95%CI = 9.51, 11.81) among women, and 10.87 (9.93, 11.90) among men. By April 2020 these relative differences had increased to more than 17 times with CMFs of 17.57 (16.43, 18.79) among women and 18.17 (17.22, 19.17) among men. CMFs did not increase during the second wave, despite a rise in the absolute age-standardised COVID-19 mortality risks. INTERPRETATION: COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the mortality of care home residents in England compared to older residents of private homes, but only in the first wave. This may be explained by a degree of acquired immunity, improved protective measures or changes in the underlying frailty of the populations. The care home population should be prioritised for measures aimed at controlling COVID-19. FUNDING: Medical Research Council MR/V015737/1.

4.
Br J Gen Pract ; 72(714): e63-e74, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592598

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare activity. The NHS stopped non-urgent work in March 2020, later recommending services be restored to near-normal levels before winter where possible. AIM: To describe the volume and variation of coded clinical activity in general practice, taking respiratory disease and laboratory procedures as examples. DESIGN AND SETTING: Working on behalf of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 23.8 million patient records in general practice, in situ using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Activity using Clinical Terms Version 3 codes and keyword searches from January 2019 to September 2020 are described. RESULTS: Activity recorded in general practice declined during the pandemic, but largely recovered by September. There was a large drop in coded activity for laboratory tests, with broad recovery to pre-pandemic levels by September. One exception was the international normalised ratio test, with a smaller reduction (median tests per 1000 patients in 2020: February 8.0; April 6.2; September 6.9). The pattern of recording for respiratory symptoms was less affected, following an expected seasonal pattern and classified as 'no change'. Respiratory infections exhibited a sustained drop, not returning to pre-pandemic levels by September. Asthma reviews experienced a small drop but recovered, whereas chronic obstructive pulmonary disease reviews remained below baseline. CONCLUSION: An open-source software framework was delivered to describe trends and variation in clinical activity across an unprecedented scale of primary care data. The COVD-19 pandemic led to a substantial change in healthcare activity. Most laboratory tests showed substantial reduction, largely recovering to near-normal levels by September, with some important tests less affected and recording of respiratory disease codes was mixed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine
5.
Br J Gen Pract ; 72(714): e51-e62, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592597

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 8 December 2020 NHS England administered the first COVID-19 vaccination. AIM: To describe trends and variation in vaccine coverage in different clinical and demographic groups in the first 100 days of the vaccine rollout. DESIGN AND SETTING: With the approval of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 57.9 million patient records in general practice in England, in situ and within the infrastructure of the electronic health record software vendors EMIS and TPP using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Vaccine coverage across various subgroups of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority cohorts is described. RESULTS: A total of 20 852 692 patients (36.0%) received a vaccine between 8 December 2020 and 17 March 2021. Of patients aged ≥80 years not in a care home (JCVI group 2) 94.7% received a vaccine, but with substantial variation by ethnicity (White 96.2%, Black 68.3%) and deprivation (least deprived 96.6%, most deprived 90.7%). Patients with pre-existing medical conditions were more likely to be vaccinated with two exceptions: severe mental illness (89.5%) and learning disability (91.4%). There were 275 205 vaccine recipients who were identified as care home residents (JCVI group 1; 91.2% coverage). By 17 March, 1 257 914 (6.0%) recipients had a second dose. CONCLUSION: The NHS rapidly delivered mass vaccination. In this study a data-monitoring framework was deployed using publicly auditable methods and a secure in situ processing model, using linked but pseudonymised patient-level NHS data for 57.9 million patients. Targeted activity may be needed to address lower vaccination coverage observed among certain key groups.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Humans , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
6.
Br J Gen Pract ; 72(714): e63-e74, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505838

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare activity. The NHS stopped non-urgent work in March 2020, later recommending services be restored to near-normal levels before winter where possible. AIM: To describe the volume and variation of coded clinical activity in general practice, taking respiratory disease and laboratory procedures as examples. DESIGN AND SETTING: Working on behalf of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 23.8 million patient records in general practice, in situ using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Activity using Clinical Terms Version 3 codes and keyword searches from January 2019 to September 2020 are described. RESULTS: Activity recorded in general practice declined during the pandemic, but largely recovered by September. There was a large drop in coded activity for laboratory tests, with broad recovery to pre-pandemic levels by September. One exception was the international normalised ratio test, with a smaller reduction (median tests per 1000 patients in 2020: February 8.0; April 6.2; September 6.9). The pattern of recording for respiratory symptoms was less affected, following an expected seasonal pattern and classified as 'no change'. Respiratory infections exhibited a sustained drop, not returning to pre-pandemic levels by September. Asthma reviews experienced a small drop but recovered, whereas chronic obstructive pulmonary disease reviews remained below baseline. CONCLUSION: An open-source software framework was delivered to describe trends and variation in clinical activity across an unprecedented scale of primary care data. The COVD-19 pandemic led to a substantial change in healthcare activity. Most laboratory tests showed substantial reduction, largely recovering to near-normal levels by September, with some important tests less affected and recording of respiratory disease codes was mixed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine
7.
Br J Gen Pract ; 72(714): e51-e62, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505837

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 8 December 2020 NHS England administered the first COVID-19 vaccination. AIM: To describe trends and variation in vaccine coverage in different clinical and demographic groups in the first 100 days of the vaccine rollout. DESIGN AND SETTING: With the approval of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 57.9 million patient records in general practice in England, in situ and within the infrastructure of the electronic health record software vendors EMIS and TPP using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Vaccine coverage across various subgroups of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority cohorts is described. RESULTS: A total of 20 852 692 patients (36.0%) received a vaccine between 8 December 2020 and 17 March 2021. Of patients aged ≥80 years not in a care home (JCVI group 2) 94.7% received a vaccine, but with substantial variation by ethnicity (White 96.2%, Black 68.3%) and deprivation (least deprived 96.6%, most deprived 90.7%). Patients with pre-existing medical conditions were more likely to be vaccinated with two exceptions: severe mental illness (89.5%) and learning disability (91.4%). There were 275 205 vaccine recipients who were identified as care home residents (JCVI group 1; 91.2% coverage). By 17 March, 1 257 914 (6.0%) recipients had a second dose. CONCLUSION: The NHS rapidly delivered mass vaccination. In this study a data-monitoring framework was deployed using publicly auditable methods and a secure in situ processing model, using linked but pseudonymised patient-level NHS data for 57.9 million patients. Targeted activity may be needed to address lower vaccination coverage observed among certain key groups.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Humans , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
8.
Wellcome Open Res ; 6: 90, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1395316

ABSTRACT

Background: Care home residents have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Electronic Health Records (EHR) hold significant potential for studying the healthcare needs of this vulnerable population; however, identifying care home residents in EHR is not straightforward. We describe and compare three different methods for identifying care home residents in the newly created OpenSAFELY-TPP data analytics platform.  Methods: Working on behalf of NHS England, we identified individuals aged 65 years or older potentially living in a care home on the 1st of February 2020 using (1) a complex address linkage, in which cleaned GP registered addresses were matched to old age care home addresses using data from the Care and Quality Commission (CQC); (2) coded events in the EHR; (3) household identifiers, age and household size to identify households with more than 3 individuals aged 65 years or older as potential care home residents. Raw addresses were not available to the investigators. Results: Of 4,437,286 individuals aged 65 years or older, 2.27% were identified as potential care home residents using the complex address linkage, 1.96% using coded events, 3.13% using household size and age and 3.74% using either of these methods. 53,210 individuals (32.0% of all potential care home residents) were classified as care home residents using all three methods. Address linkage had the largest overlap with the other methods; 93.3% of individuals identified as care home residents using the address linkage were also identified as such using either coded events or household age and size.  Conclusion: We have described the partial overlap between three methods for identifying care home residents in EHR, and provide detailed instructions for how to implement these in OpenSAFELY-TPP to support research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on care home residents.

9.
Br J Gen Pract ; 71(712): e806-e814, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1339630

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long COVID describes new or persistent symptoms at least 4 weeks after onset of acute COVID-19. Clinical codes to describe this phenomenon were recently created. AIM: To describe the use of long-COVID codes, and variation of use by general practice, demographic variables, and over time. DESIGN AND SETTING: Population-based cohort study in English primary care. METHOD: Working on behalf of NHS England, OpenSAFELY data were used encompassing 96% of the English population between 1 February 2020 and 25 May 2021. The proportion of people with a recorded code for long COVID was measured overall and by demographic factors, electronic health record software system (EMIS or TPP), and week. RESULTS: Long COVID was recorded for 23 273 people. Coding was unevenly distributed among practices, with 26.7% of practices having never used the codes. Regional variation ranged between 20.3 per 100 000 people for East of England (95% confidence interval [CI] = 19.3 to 21.4) and 55.6 per 100 000 people in London (95% CI = 54.1 to 57.1). Coding was higher among females (52.1, 95% CI = 51.3 to 52.9) than males (28.1, 95% CI = 27.5 to 28.7), and higher among practices using EMIS (53.7, 95% CI = 52.9 to 54.4) than those using TPP (20.9, 95% CI = 20.3 to 21.4). CONCLUSION: Current recording of long COVID in primary care is very low, and variable between practices. This may reflect patients not presenting; clinicians and patients holding different diagnostic thresholds; or challenges with the design and communication of diagnostic codes. Increased awareness of diagnostic codes is recommended to facilitate research and planning of services, and also surveys with qualitative work to better evaluate clinicians' understanding of the diagnosis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Clinical Coding , COVID-19/complications , Cohort Studies , England , Female , Humans , Male , Primary Health Care
10.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 6: 100109, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225324

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Mortality from COVID-19 shows a strong relationship with age and pre-existing medical conditions, as does mortality from other causes. We aimed to investigate how specific factors are differentially associated with COVID-19 mortality as compared to mortality from causes other than COVID-19. METHODS: Working on behalf of NHS England, we carried out a cohort study within the OpenSAFELY platform. Primary care data from England were linked to national death registrations. We included all adults (aged ≥18 years) in the database on 1st February 2020 and with >1 year of continuous prior registration; the cut-off date for deaths was 9th November 2020. Associations between individual-level characteristics and COVID-19 and non-COVID deaths, classified according to the presence of a COVID-19 code as the underlying cause of death on the death certificate, were estimated by fitting age- and sex-adjusted logistic models for these two outcomes. FINDINGS: 17,456,515 individuals were included. 17,063 died from COVID-19 and 134,316 from other causes. Most factors associated with COVID-19 death were similarly associated with non-COVID death, but the magnitudes of association differed. Older age was more strongly associated with COVID-19 death than non-COVID death (e.g. ORs 40.7 [95% CI 37.7-43.8] and 29.6 [28.9-30.3] respectively for ≥80 vs 50-59 years), as was male sex, deprivation, obesity, and some comorbidities. Smoking, history of cancer and chronic liver disease had stronger associations with non-COVID than COVID-19 death. All non-white ethnic groups had higher odds than white of COVID-19 death (OR for Black: 2.20 [1.96-2.47], South Asian: 2.33 [2.16-2.52]), but lower odds than white of non-COVID death (Black: 0.88 [0.83-0.94], South Asian: 0.78 [0.75-0.81]). INTERPRETATION: Similar associations of most individual-level factors with COVID-19 and non-COVID death suggest that COVID-19 largely multiplies existing risks faced by patients, with some notable exceptions. Identifying the unique factors contributing to the excess COVID-19 mortality risk among non-white groups is a priority to inform efforts to reduce deaths from COVID-19. FUNDING: Wellcome, Royal Society, National Institute for Health Research, National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, UK Medical Research Council, Health Data Research UK.

11.
Euro Surveill ; 26(11)2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143384

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant of concern (VOC) is increasing in prevalence across Europe. Accurate estimation of disease severity associated with this VOC is critical for pandemic planning. We found increased risk of death for VOC compared with non-VOC cases in England (hazard ratio: 1.67; 95% confidence interval: 1.34-2.09; p < 0.0001). Absolute risk of death by 28 days increased with age and comorbidities. This VOC has potential to spread faster with higher mortality than the pandemic to date.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Age Factors , Comorbidity , England/epidemiology , Humans
12.
Ann Rheum Dis ; 80(7): 943-951, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1044732

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To assess the association between routinely prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and deaths from COVID-19 using OpenSAFELY, a secure analytical platform. METHODS: We conducted two cohort studies from 1 March to 14 June 2020. Working on behalf of National Health Service England, we used routine clinical data in England linked to death data. In study 1, we identified people with an NSAID prescription in the last 3 years from the general population. In study 2, we identified people with rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis. We defined exposure as current NSAID prescription within the 4 months before 1 March 2020. We used Cox regression to estimate HRs for COVID-19 related death in people currently prescribed NSAIDs, compared with those not currently prescribed NSAIDs, accounting for age, sex, comorbidities, other medications and geographical region. RESULTS: In study 1, we included 536 423 current NSAID users and 1 927 284 non-users in the general population. We observed no evidence of difference in risk of COVID-19 related death associated with current use (HR 0.96, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.14) in the multivariable-adjusted model. In study 2, we included 1 708 781 people with rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis, of whom 175 495 (10%) were current NSAID users. In the multivariable-adjusted model, we observed a lower risk of COVID-19 related death (HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.94) associated with current use of NSAID versus non-use. CONCLUSIONS: We found no evidence of a harmful effect of routinely prescribed NSAIDs on COVID-19 related deaths. Risks of COVID-19 do not need to influence decisions about the routine therapeutic use of NSAIDs.


Subject(s)
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/adverse effects , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/drug therapy , COVID-19/mortality , Osteoarthritis/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/virology , COVID-19/complications , Cohort Studies , Drug Prescriptions/statistics & numerical data , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Osteoarthritis/virology , Risk Factors , State Medicine
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