Unvaccinated Covid patient who was severely ill with virus still undecided whether he'll get jab

'I was thinking, am I going to push through?' Allan tells ITV News about his struggle against Covid - and his hesitancy to get the vaccine

A Covid patient who is unvaccinated and was severely ill with the virus is still deciding if he will get the jab.

Allan is at Northwick Park Hospital relying on an oxygen machine to breathe.

The 38-year-old was on a high dependency unit for a week and was on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for 10 days. He was so ill with Covid he thought "100%" he would die.

He told ITV News: “The worse moment was thinking am I going to push through because the breathing became difficult, when you’re struggling to breath, that’s worrying, very worrying.”

Allan had delayed getting his Covid vaccine because it was something he “was investigating and considering.”

“You have to consciously think about what you do, before you do it,” he added.

ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan filmed at Northwick Park Hospital and heard about the pressures they are now facing

Despite his condition being touch and go, Allan is still unsure if he will receive the Covid vaccine, but he does not regret not getting the jab.

He said: “What I would say to people is do your investigations and do what you’re comfortable with.

"At the end of the day it’s about protecting yourself respectively and make the decisions for yourself."

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When asked whether he was a good example for getting the vaccine, he said “possibly”, but added: “I’m here, telling the story, I’m just staying positive, trying to get better and do the right thing.”

Allan is one of 78 Covid patients currently at Northwick Park Hospital – which was the first hospital to declare a “critical incident” at the peak of the first wave of coronavirus.

The hospital is now dealing with a steadily growing number of younger, unvaccinated and single vaccinated Covid patients – there are more than 100 Covid patients at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

It comes as NHS figures suggest 2.6 million 18-29-year-olds remain unvaccinated and vaccine take-up continues to be lower among men than women.

Health Editor Emily Morgan tells of doctors' frustrations that around 70% of Covid admissions are unvaccinated

Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 71.3% of women are estimated to have received one dose, but only 63.8% of men.

The NHS head also revealed on Thursday that one-in-five patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are aged between 18 and 34.

This number stood at close to one in 20 – 5.4% – at the peak of the winter wave in January, Amanda Pritchard said.

Dr Jaita Mukherjee, consultant rheumatologist and Covid consultant, told ITV News that the reality is 70% of patients on the Covid wards are unvaccinated.

She said the patients are much younger compared to the previous waves and four out of six of the bays are filled with men.

Some of the reasons why young people are hesitant to take up the vaccine is they think "they're not at risk of getting the virus, others have said they didn't know they were eligible for the vaccine", Dr Mukherjee explains.

Dr Jaita Mukherjee explains that the majority of Covid patients in Northwick Park Hospital are unvaccinated

Doctors and nurses are having to juggle Covid and non-Covid patients, with the hospital also facing unprecedented demand in its A&E department.

Dr Mukherjee is spending half her time working on Covid wards and the other half sifting through the backlog of arthritic patients in her clinic.

“We are still having to continue with our other services, although I’m looking after patients with Covid, I’m still running my rheumatology clinic for my outpatients, so we’re still running a fully functional hospital, offering services for all patients,” she said.

Staff are dealing with unprecedented demand at the hospital's A&E.

Across the Trust's A&E departments, it's experiencing demand that is “worse than winter” – it is seeing around 700 attendances a day compared to 400-600 during the winter peak.

Staff are dealing with an increase in winter respiratory virus cases, patients' complex health conditions worsening over the past year and a backlog of routine hospital appointments and surgeries.

Jon Baker, A&E Consultant and Acting Medical Director, told ITV News: “We are super busy at the moment, it’s a bit like winter, we’ve just hit our January type attendance numbers and it’s a huge mix of Covid and non-Covid, so it makes it triply complicated for us right now.”