A senior North Yorkshire health official says there needs to be a bigger push to encourage 18 to 29-year-olds to get their Covid vaccines as she warns more young people are falling ill with the virus.
Amanda Bloor, accountable officer of NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said more than a quarter of people in that age bracket in the county – equivalent to around 31,000 people – have yet to come forward for a single vaccine dose and that it was vital they now do so.
Her calls come as the number of Covid patients in North Yorkshire’s hospitals has increased to 121 – up from 109 this time last week.
Speaking at a meeting of the county’s Local Resilience Forum today, Ms Bloor said: “We are seeing younger, fit people getting Covid who do need to be admitted to hospital for treatment – and they are sometimes becoming quite poorly.
“We all know that getting a vaccination is the single best thing that we can do to both help prevent the spread of Covid and to also reduce the number of people who become seriously unwell or die.
“Across North Yorkshire and York, we have seen 73% of people in the age cohort of 18 to 29-year-olds who have come forward for their first dose and 35% have had a second dose.
“We will see the number of second doses increasing as those are given – and we are making really great progress.
“But there are still 27% of people in that age cohort across North Yorkshire and York who have not yet come forward for a first vaccine.
“I would really encourage them to take up the vaccine. This will protect themselves, but also their family, friends and community which is just so important as we move forward and get back into resuming business as usual.”
Latest figures show around 578,000 people in all age groups across North Yorkshire and York have now received a first vaccine dose and 514,000 people their second.
Meanwhile, a breakdown of the hospital figures show there are eight patients in Scarborough, nine in Harrogate, 27 in York and 77 in South Tees – with 23 of the patients being treated in intensive care.
The rise comes after patient numbers had been falling after the total number reached 131 two weeks ago.
Ms Bloor added: “We did see quite a sharp decrease in the number of patients with Covid in hospital, but over the weekend we had quite a sharp rise. That does seem to have stabilised but is in line with what we are seeing more broadly across the country.
“We are still seeing quite significant numbers of patients requiring hospital treatment. So, please do not delay getting the vaccine. It is the single most important thing that you can do to protect yourself.”