Covid: Young adults speak about living with extreme fatigue and urge others to get vaccinated

With hospitalisations rising and winter nearing there are fears about the relatively low number of young people getting vaccinated Tom Clarke reports

Three young adults have shared their stories of the "debilitating" impacts of Covid-19 on their lives, as they urged others to get vaccinated.

Two women said they are still living with extreme fatigue months after testing positive for the virus, and another healthy gym-goer revealed he thought he would die when he was hospitalised.

Seven months on from contracting coronavirus, Megan Higgins, 25, and Ella Harwood, 23, who were previously healthy and active, shared their experiences in a bid to encourage vaccine uptake.

Young people speak about extreme fatigue and body aches long after contracting Covid-19 - as they urge others to get vaccinated

Ms Higgins said she now struggles to walk around shops and Ms Harwood has developed asthma and a number of allergies.

Miss Higgins, a special needs tutor from London, said: “It’s now been eight months since I tested positive, and I can’t even walk around the shops without getting exhausted.

“Long Covid is debilitating, so please, get vaccinated. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I have.”

Miss Harwood, an illustrator from London, said: “I’m young and fit but I was bed-bound for seven months with Covid-19.

“Before I caught the virus, I was super active and had no health concerns, but I now suffer with asthma which I didn’t have before and a number of allergies.

“I fear I’ll never be the same again but I’m making progress and I’m very grateful that I’m still alive."

They spoke in a video released by the NHS, which encourages people to get vaccinated.

Drop-in centres are open for young people to get their vaccines. Credit: PA Images

Regular gym-goer Quincy Dwamena, 31, delayed getting the vaccine and became seriously ill with Covid.

The support worker from east London, who described himself as a "healthy young guy" said: “I ended up being hospitalised and thought I was going to die.

“My advice is to get the vaccine: don’t put yourself and others at risk, I wish I’d got mine as soon as it was offered.”

People aged 16 to 29 are most likely to get long Covid, but the vaccine uptake in this age group is lower than others, particularly in London, Public Health England figures reveal.

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And people aged 18 to 34 now make up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with coronavirus, which is four times higher than the peak in winter 2020, according to the NHS.

Emergency medicine physician Dr Emeka Okorocha said in the NHS video that most of the young people in hospital with Covid-19 did not get the vaccine.

He said: “As an A&E doctor, I’ve seen a lot during the pandemic. But nothing has shaken me like the sight of young, otherwise healthy adults being rushed into our hospitals with Covid-19.

“As well as their age, many of them have one other thing in common – they are unvaccinated.”

The government and NHS is urging unvaccinated young people to get their jabs as having two doses of the vaccine approximately halves the risk of experiencing symptoms which last more than 28 days, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Vaccine uncertainty is higher among younger people, according to the research. Credit: PA

Teenagers aged 16 to 17 in England have already been invited to book their first doses from Monday.

"At risk" people aged 12 to 15 have also been invited to get their jabs ahead of their return to school in September.

The government has launched “grab a jab” pop-up vaccination sites including at London-based nightclub Heaven and at football stadiums and festivals across the country.

NHS England also launched an online walk-in site finder to help people find their nearest GP-led vaccine centre.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I encourage everyone to come forward for both their jabs as quickly as possible as vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious illness.”

About 76.3% of UK adults have now been fully vaccinated and 87.5% have had at least one dose.