Young people tell of being bed-bound with Covid in vaccination push
Young patients suffering with the debilitating effects of long Covid have urged people to get their vaccine.
A new NHS video features three previously healthy people in their early 20s and 30s, including a man who thought he would die with the virus in hospital.
It comes as 16 and 17-year-olds in England have been invited to book their first doses from Monday.
The invitation extends to “at-risk” people aged 12 to 15 ahead of their return to school in September.
People aged 18 to 34 now make up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with the virus, which is four times higher than the peak in winter 2020, the NHS has said.
One expert advising the Government said he thinks fewer young people are likely to get a coronavirus vaccine compared with older age groups, but added that he is “optimistic” the majority will want to have a jab.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told Sky News: “I don’t think we’re going to see as many young people receiving the vaccine as the elderly.
“Old folks like me were living in fear of Covid with very large numbers of serious cases, admissions and deaths, and clearly as you come down through the age groups you see those rates coming down.
“But nevertheless, I think we can be optimistic that the majority of young people will want to receive the vaccine.”
Support worker Quincy Dwamena, 31, described himself in the clip as a “healthy young guy” who “went to the gym often” and delayed getting the vaccine – but became seriously ill.
Mr Dwamena, from east London, said: “I ended up being hospitalised and thought I was going to die.
“My advice is to get the vaccine: don’t put yourself and others at risk, I wish I’d got mine as soon as it was offered.”
Megan Higgins, 25, and Ella Harwood, 23, were both previously healthy and active but are now suffering with extreme fatigue due to long Covid.
Miss Higgins, a special needs tutor from London, said: “It’s now been eight months since I tested positive, and I can’t even walk around the shops without getting exhausted.
“Long Covid is debilitating, so please, get vaccinated. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I have.”
Miss Harwood (pictured), an illustrator from London, said: “I’m young and fit but I was bed-bound for seven months with Covid-19.
“Before I caught the virus, I was super active and had no health concerns, but I now suffer with asthma which I didn’t have before and a number of allergies.
“I fear I’ll never be the same again but I’m making progress and I’m very grateful that I’m still alive.”
Having two doses of the vaccine approximately halves the risk of experiencing symptoms which last more than 28 days after infection, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Public Health England figures show people aged between 16 and 29 are most likely to get long Covid, but vaccine uptake among this age group is lower than average – particularly in London.
Speaking in the NHS video, emergency medicine physician Dr Emeka Okorocha said most of the young people hospitalised by coronavirus are unvaccinated.
He said: “As an A&E doctor, I’ve seen a lot during the pandemic. But nothing has shaken me like the sight of young, otherwise healthy adults being rushed into our hospitals with Covid-19.
“As well as their age, many of them have one other thing in common – they are unvaccinated.”
The Government has launched “grab a jab” pop-up vaccination sites including at London-based nightclub Heaven and at football stadiums and festivals across the country.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I encourage everyone to come forward for both their jabs as quickly as possible as vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious illness.”
NHS England has also launched an online walk-in site finder to help people locate their nearest GP-led vaccine centre from the 800 available.
A total of 89,070,370 people have been vaccinated in the UK, including 47,573,794 people with a first dose (87.5%) and 41,496,576 with a second (76.3%).
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