The doctor leading the COVID-19 vaccination programme in West Yorkshire is calling on those who haven’t been vaccinated to get their jabs, as hospital admissions for the virus continue to rise sharply.
Dr Phil Wood, the Senior Responsible Officer for the West Yorkshire Vaccination Programme, said:
“We have seen week-on-week rises in hospital admissions for coronavirus stretching back several weeks now and it’s vitally important that people realise COVID-19 is definitely not over.”
Latest figures show that 176 people were receiving treatment in hospitals across West Yorkshire last week, more than four times as many as at the end of May when 42 people were being treated. 26 of these are currently in intensive care compared to the 11 in May.
At The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates hospitals in Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury, patient admissions for COVID-19 more than doubled in a week from 21 on Thursday 8 July to 45 on 15 July.
With all remaining restrictions lifted earlier this week, people who are yet to be vaccinated or who had their first dose more than eight weeks ago, are being urged to visit one of the many walk-in vaccination clinics in the region or book an appointment at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination
Recent data also shows that younger age groups are now making up a significant proportion of those being admitted to our region’s hospital with COVID-19.
Last week at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, 46% of Covid patients were aged under 45, with 29% aged under 35 and 14% aged under 25. Similarly, 61% of those admitted at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust were under 55, with 27% aged less than 35.
“I think there is a mistaken belief that only people who are elderly or have a pre-existing health condition will need hospital treatment for COVID-19 but as the figures show, this is not the case; this virus can affect anyone,” added Dr Wood.
While the vaccination history of patients is not released by all hospitals, Dr Wood says that his experience of speaking to staff on COVID wards at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provides a clear indication of the risks people are taking by not getting their jab.
“I know from the conversations I’ve had with staff and patients that a significant proportion of people hospitalised with COVID-19 are either unvaccinated or have not had their second dose, particularly in the younger age groups.
“While some people who are vaccinated may still need hospital care if they catch COVID, the fact remains that if you are fully vaccinated you have around 85% protection against a hospital admission so this is far less likely.”
With infections expected to continue to increase as people interact more and no longer have to wear face masks outside of clinical settings, Dr Wood has the following advice:
“Now restrictions have been eased we will inevitably see a continuing rise in cases so why gamble with your health or risk losing the new freedoms that the vaccination programme has brought for everyone- get fully vaccinated as soon as you possibly can.”
It has never been easier to get your vaccine. Your local clinical commissioning group will list all the places within your local area where you can simply walk in without an appointment, get your jab and walk out.
This post is based on a press release issued by NHS Leeds