Young people urged to come forward for vaccine as figures show one in five covid hospitalisations are among 18-34-year-olds

Unvaccinated teenagers and young adults have been urged to book a coronavirus jab as a new video from the NHS highlights the number of people suffering from severe disease and long covid.

Some one million letters and texts have already been sent by the NHS to 16 and 17 year-olds urging them to come forward for their first dose.

Most young people who test positive for coronavirus have mild or asymptomatic cases of the disease.

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But latest figures show that one in five people currently hospitalised with the virus are aged 18 to 34, four times higher than in the peak of the winter wave of the disease earlier this year.

Some one million letters and texts have already been sent by the NHS to 16 and 17 year-olds urging them to come forward for their first dose.

A&E doctor Emeka Okorocha, who narrates the new video, said the majority of covid cases he is seeing among young people are in those still 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. Vaccines truly are the way out of this pandemic and are the best way to protect everyone from the virus, so please get your vaccine.”

More than 360,000 16 and 17-year-olds have had their first dose of a vaccine, usually Moderna or Pfizer.

And vulnerable 12-15-year-olds have also been invited for vaccine, and are encouraged to have their first dose ready for the return to school in two weeks.

According to data from Public Health England, the highest COVID-19 case rates are among 20 to 29-year-olds with a case rate of 670.7 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 8, up week-on-week from 628.6.

And some 6.3 per cent of young people aged 16-29 have had long covid, around one in 20 and higher than the national average.

Symptoms of long covid include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pains.

The prevalence rate of covid in young people is highest in London, where the new campaign video was filmed.

Quincy Dwamena, 31, East London, who spent two weeks in hospital with COVID-19 after putting off the vaccine, said: “I’m a healthy, young guy. I went to the gym often and have no underlying health concerns. I put off getting the vaccine because I thought the way I was living my life would mean there would be little to no chance of me catching the virus, or it would have little effect.

“But 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.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Vaccines are building a wall of defence in the UK and allowing us to safely live with this virus without restrictions.

“Regardless of whether you’re young, fit and healthy, these harrowing stories really show that COVID-19 can affect anyone. 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.”