Young people are getting “seriously ill” from Covid-19, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has warned, as he urged them to get vaccinated.
Prof Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, said there have been close to 200 admissions, with a mean age of 40, in the city during the Delta variant wave. England’s remaining Covid restrictions were eased on Monday and pictures of crowded nightclubs, filled with revellers not wearing masks or social distancing, have raised fears among some experts that infections could surge among unvaccinated young people.
Speaking on LBC on Sunday, Finn said: “We have had people under 30 on our intensive care unit and also requiring high-level oxygen therapy.
“This is not always trivial in young adults. There are younger people really getting seriously ill at the moment, so that’s one good reason to think about having the vaccine.
“But the other one is, these vaccines now, it’s clear, do reduce the risk of not only getting the infection but passing it on to other people.
“Getting immunised is going to reduce the risk of spreading this infection around amongst young people and enable them to get back to normal.”
While young people are generally at lower risk from Covid, experts have warned that some nevertheless become very ill and can develop long Covid.
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the coronavirus in England is now largely an infection among young adults, with cases in 16- to 24-year-olds almost six times more common than in 50- to 69-year-olds.
From the end of September, people in England will be required to have domestic vaccine passports – showing they have had two Covid jabs – in order to enter nightclubs, as well as for what are described as “other venues where large crowds gather”. Additionally, the government is considering making them mandatory for events with more than 20,000 attendees, including Premier League football matches, from October.
However, Finn questioned whether such an approach would work. “It has to be done really quite carefully, he said.
“If people begin to feel they are being kind of forced against their will to do something, then in a sense that’s quite a damaging thing to do because it gives people the impression [that] vaccination is something being imposed on them from outside.
“Nudging can be done, but it has to be done in a way that people don’t feel that [they] are being pushed into something they don’t want to do.”