‘I fear I’ll never be the same again’: Young people tell of being bed-bound with long Covid in vaccination push

Public Health England figures show people aged between 16 and 29 are most likely to get long Covid as vaccine uptake among this age group is lower than average

Young patients suffering with the debilitating effects of long Covid have urged people to get their vaccine.

A new NHS video features three previously healthy people in their early 20s and 30s, including a man who thought he would die with the virus in hospital.

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Ella Harwood, 23, is also part of the vaccination drive to get more young people to take up the Covid jab (image: DHSC)

At a glance: 5 key points

  • 16 and 17-year-olds in England have been invited to book their first doses from 23 August
  • The invitation extends to “at-risk” people aged 12 to 15 ahead of their return to school in September
  • People aged 18 to 34 now make up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with the virus, which is four times higher than the peak in winter 2020, the NHS has said
  • Support worker Quincy Dwamena, 31, described himself in the clip as a “healthy young guy” who “went to the gym often” and delayed getting the vaccine – but became seriously ill
  • Megan Higgins, 25, and Ella Harwood, 23, were both previously healthy and active but are now suffering with extreme fatigue due to long Covid

What’s been said

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

“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.”

Higgins added: “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.”

Harwood said: “I’m young and fit but I was bed-bound for seven months with Covid.

“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.”

Background

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.

Speaking in the NHS video, emergency medicine physician Dr Emeka Okorocha said most of the young people hospitalised by Covid are unvaccinated.

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 has also launched an online walk-in site finder to help people locate their nearest GP-led vaccine centre from the 800 available.

A total of 89,070,370 people have been vaccinated in the UK, including 47,573,794 people with a first dose (87.5%) and 41,496,576 with a second (76.3%).

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