One-in-five in hospital in England with Covid now aged 18-34 as young urged to get coronavirus jab

Patients aged 18-34 made up more than 20% of those admitted to hospital in England last month. Credit: PA

One-in-five patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are aged between 18 and 34, the new head of the NHS in England has revealed, as she urged younger people to get a coronavirus jab.

Patients aged 18-34 made up more than 20% of those admitted to hospital in England last month, up from close to one in 20 – 5.4% – at the peak of the winter wave in January, Amanda Pritchard has said.

NHS England's chief executive told the BBC that 1,000 young adults are currently “really unwell” in hospital, adding that the number of them being admitted to hospital is four times higher than the peak last winter.

Ms Pritchard said there is “no doubt” that the jabs rollout is having a “major impact” in keeping people out of hospital and saving lives.

Amanda Pritchard urged young people to take up the offer of a jab Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Ms Pritchard, who took up her new role this week and is the first woman to lead NHS England, paid tribute to the work of health service staff as she visited a vaccination clinic in Reigate, Surrey, on Wednesday.

She 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.”

She urged people to “not delay sorting your jab”, saying the NHS is making it “as easy as possible to protect yourself, your family and your friends”, with pop-up clinics and walk-in sites bolstering the 1,600 permanent sites already in place.

It comes as the government announced on Wednesday that 16 and 17-year-olds will be offered a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said its decision had been made after "large changes" in the way that Covid has been spreading in the UK, “particularly in younger age groups".

While the move was welcomed by many, some experts believe more research is needed before extending the vaccine programme to younger people.