You asked

Could you please let me know, how many people in total died in England from influenza A and B, in the years: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 (2021 so far).

We said

Thank you for your request.

We are responsible for the production of mortality data for England and Wales. This is driven by information collected from the death certificate at death registration. For Scotland and Northern Ireland statistics please contact National Records Scotland and NISRA respectively.

2013 to 2019 influenza

The number of people who died from influenza in 2017 to 2019 is available to download from our NOMIS webservice. Influenza is coded under ICD-10 codes J09-J11. The search function on this service can be used to search influenza deaths occurring in selected years for England only.

Please see the following instructions for our webservice:

  • Select the geography – Please select 'England'
  • Select Age – All ages or 5-year age bands.
  • Select Gender – Total or Male/Female
  • Select rates – All deaths, rates or percentage of population for example.
  • Select cause of death (ICD10 code search is available). Please select J09-J11 for influenza.
  • Select format (Excel or CSV for example)

Our NOMIS webservice will be updated with 2020 mortality data once the data have been finalised in July 2021.

2020/2021 influenza deaths

Figure 2 of our Deaths registered weekly bulletin shows the combined number of deaths in 2020/2021 due to influenza and pneumonia and the combined number of deaths involving influenza and pneumonia.

"Due to" refers only to deaths where influenza and pneumonia was recorded as the underlying cause of death and "involving" referring to deaths that had influenza and pneumonia mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, whether as an underlying cause or not.

Please see the 'download data' option at the bottom of Figure 2 for these statistics.

In this publication, influenza deaths are not shown separately and are not available for England only as you have requested. Figures for both 'Influenza and Pneumonia' are grouped together (J09 – J18) and totals are shown for both England and Wales.

However, data showing 2020 deaths from influenza separately for England only will be published once the data have been finalised in the summer of 2021.

As such, this information is considered exempt under Section 22(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, whereby information is exempt from release if there is a view to publish the information in the future. Furthermore, as a central government department and producer of official statistics, we need to have the freedom to be able to determine our own publication timetables. This is to allow us to deal with the necessary preparation, administration and context of publications. It would be unreasonable to consider disclosure when to do so would undermine our functions.

This exemption is subject to a public interest test. We recognise the desirability of information being freely available and this is considered by ONS when publication schedules are set in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. The need for timely data must be balanced against the practicalities of applying statistical skill and judgement to produce the high quality, assured data needed to inform decision-making. If this balance is incorrectly applied, then we run the risk of decisions being based on inaccurate data which is arguably not in the public interest. This will have an impact on public trust in official statistics in a time when accuracy of official statistics is more important to the public than ever before.

If you would like to discuss these statistics further, please contact