About 80% of younger Covid patients in North ‘not vaccinated’

Chief scientific officer Professor Ian Young stressed the ‘benefits’ of getting the jab.
About 80% of younger Covid patients in North ‘not vaccinated’

By Rebecca Black, PA

Some 80 per cent of patients in hospital with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland who are aged under 60 have not been vaccinated, the region's chief scientific adviser has said.

Overall in the North around 82 per cent of people aged 16 and over have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

A lower proportion of younger people have received the jab, 65 per cent of 18-29-year-olds, and 72 per cent in the 30-39-year-old age group have had their first dose.

On Monday there were 245 Covid-positive patients in hospitals in Northern Ireland, including 41 in intensive care.

On the same day eight deaths of patients who previously tested positive for Covid-19 and 1,031 new cases of coronavirus were reported.

On Tuesday morning, Professor Ian Young said there were more than 100 people under the age of 60 with Covid-19 in hospital, 80 per cent of whom have not been vaccinated.

“Younger people who choose not to get vaccinated have a risk of developing a serious illness which will take them into hospital,” he told the BBC.

“Increasingly we are seeing the benefits of vaccination for international travel.

“Many countries now require evidence of two doses of a vaccine to allow people to travel to them.

“Additionally we see a number of local initiatives where people are encouraging customers to present evidence of vaccination in order to gain entry, whether it is Belsonic or the Feile.

“There are a number of everyday benefits to being able to show that you have had two doses of vaccine as well as the very real health benefits.”

Coronavirus – Mon Sep 21, 2020
The North's chief scientific adviser Professor Ian Young. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye/PA

Vaccine scepticism

Prof Young also expressed concern at vaccine scepticism.

He emphasised the impact of the vaccine on the virus, pointing out that last December before the jabs had been administered, for every 1,000 Covid cases, 80 patients were admitted to hospital.

“Now with almost 85 per cent of the population vaccinated, for every 1,000 Covid cases, only 22 patients are admitted to hospital,” he said.

“Vaccination has been hugely successful in weakening the link between infection and serious illness.

“That’s something that we’ve been very keen to stress and will continue to do so.”

Earlier this week the North's Department of Health issued a Covid-19 factfile aimed at dispelling misinformation.

“The vast majority of people have been receptive to vaccination, there have been some barriers, part of that has been accessibility and we have pop up vaccine clinics available throughout Northern Ireland where people can continue to get the first dose of the vaccine if they haven’t done so,” he said.

“But there are a small number of circulating myths, the idea that vaccines have some effect on fertility, the idea that vaccines involve use of cells from aborted babies, that are simply not true, but which continue to circulate and which deter some people from taking up vaccination, and we just want to highlight that circulating information is simply wrong.”

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