Coronavirus: Young people warn of long Covid amid jab drive

Young people have shared stories of the debilitating effects of long Covid as they urge others to get jabbed.

A new NHS video features the experiences of three previously healthy people as part of a drive to encourage vaccine uptake.

It comes as the government says it has met its target of offering all 16 and 17-year-olds in England a Covid jab.

They are being invited to book an appointment with their GP or visit a walk-in centre.

More than 360,000 young people aged 16 to 17 in England have now been immunised.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said more than a million letters and texts were sent out in the three weeks since the age group became eligible for a jab.

All those aged 12 to 15 and considered at-risk in England have also been invited for a vaccination, the government 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.”

According to the latest figures, more than 47.6 million people in the UK – about 87% of over-16s – have now received at least one vaccine, with more than 41.6 million – 76% – having had both jabs.

On Sunday 32,253 new Covid cases were reported across the UK, as well as a further 49 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

  • What do young people need to know about the vaccine?
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  • How many people have been vaccinated so far?
  • What are the symptoms of long Covid?

While the younger a person is the lower their overall risk from coronavirus, young adults can still get long Covid – which is when symptoms of the disease persist for an extended period.

The latest figures for England show people aged 18 to 34 now make up more than a fifth of those admitted to hospital with the virus, four times higher than at the peak last winter, and most of those are unvaccinated.

‘Exhausted just walking to shops’

In the video to encourage young people to get vaccinated, previously healthy long Covid sufferers share their experiences, from being bed-bound to thinking they might die.

Megan Higgins, 25, and Ella Harwood, 23, were both previously healthy and active but are now suffering with extreme fatigue due to long Covid.

Ms Higgins, a special needs tutor from London, said that eight months on she still “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,” she said.


Ella Harwood

image sourceNHS

Ms Harwood, an illustrator from London, said she was bed-bound for seven months and fears she will “never be the same again”.

In the clip, support worker Quincy Dwamena, 31, described himself as a “healthy young guy” but said he delayed getting the vaccine and became seriously ill.

“I ended up being hospitalised and thought I was going to die,” he said.

Having two doses of the vaccine approximately halves the risk of experiencing symptoms which last more than 28 days after infection, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Regardless of whether you’re young, fit and healthy, these harrowing stories really show that Covid-19 can affect anyone.

“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.”

The government has been pushing to increase vaccine uptake among young people, with companies such as Asda and Deliveroo offering incentives to those who get a jab.

Meanwhile, pop-up vaccine sites have been opened across the country at sites such as London-based nightclub Heaven, as well as football stadiums and festivals.

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