The new NHS chief executive has urged young people to get the COVID jab as figures reveal that those aged 18-34 now make up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with the virus.
Speaking on her first visit since taking up the post, Amanda Pritchard praised staff for the success of the NHS COVID vaccination programme and urged anyone who has not yet taken up the offer of a jab to get one. Patients aged 18-34 made up more than 20% of those admitted to hospital last month, up from close to one in 20 – 5.4% – at the peak of the winter wave in January.
NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and volunteers almost nine in 10 adults have had their first COVID-19 vaccination and more than 32 million have now had both jabs as part of the biggest and most successful vaccination drive in health service history.
“There is no doubt that the NHS vaccination programme is having a major impact, keeping around 52,000 people out of hospital and saving an estimated 60,000 lives. However, we must not forget that there are more than 5,000 people who are seriously ill in hospital with COVID and more than a fifth of those admitted are young people.
“NHS teams are putting on pop-up clinics and walk-in centres in addition to around 1,600 permanent sites, to make it as easy as possible to protect yourself, your family and your friends so do not delay sorting your jab."
Over the weekend, vaccines were offered at sites including Thorpe Park, Goodwood Racecourse, Felixstowe beachfront and the Summer of Love festival in London, with pop-up clinics making it as convenient as possible for people to get protected.
On Sunday, this weekend, London superclub Heaven will also become the latest iconic site to take part in the NHS COVID vaccination programme. The famous nightclub based in Charing Cross has hosted a number of A-list acts, including Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Pet Shop Boys. Visitors will be able to get their first dose of Pfizer between midday and 9pm. There will also be small numbers of AstraZeneca doses available for those due their second jab.
NHS medical director of primary care and deputy lead for the NHS vaccination programme, Dr. Nikki Kanani, said: “The NHS vaccination programme has been hugely successful and walk-in sites have proven to be one of most effective ways for the NHS to improve uptake among local communities and it is fantastic to see nightclubs joining football stadiums, festivals and theme parks in reaching new sections of society who have yet to have their first dose.
“While thousands of people continue to come forward every week, we must not forget that there are more than 5,000 people who are seriously ill in hospital with COVID and more than a fifth of those are young people – the vaccine remains our single best defence against COVID and I would encourage anyone yet to take up the offer of a vaccine to attend one of the many walk-in sites across the country this weekend.”