Nine out of ten Covid patients in ICU are unvaccinated and 'BEG for jab in hospital'

NINE out of ten Covid patients in intensive care have not been jabbed and beg to have it while in hospital, a doctor has said.

Professor Rupert Pearse said hospitals in London are doubling their intensive care capacity in preparation for an Omicron wave.


Another 15,363 cases of the variant were confirmed yesterday with it now making up 71.6 per cent of all cases in England.

And there were 90,629 cases across the UK yesterday, with figures topping 90,000 on four of the last five days.

But the NHS booster rollout is riding to the rescue, hitting a blistering pace with 897,979 more delivered on Monday and the total at nearly 30million.

Prof Pearse, an intensive care doctor in London, said it is vital that people get vaccinated.

There are currently around 757 people with Covid on ICU ventilators across England — 11 per cent of the 6,900 patients overall.

And Prof Pearse said unjabbed people in their 20s and 30s are ending up on critical care wards with the virus.

He said: “Between 80 and 90 per cent of the patients that we have are unvaccinated.

“The great majority of us are vaccinated so you’re always going to get a few patients with Covid even though they’ve had the vaccine.

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“But what we see is that the risk of getting sick and coming to hospital, and then being in an intensive care unit, is much higher for unvaccinated people.

“Almost all of our unvaccinated patients who are well enough to talk say they have been anxious about getting the vaccine, or didn’t know who to believe. The most common thing they say is ‘Can I have the vaccine now please?’”

NHS clinics are now working at full tilt, jabbing nearly a million people a day to try and head off the new variant.

Two thirds of all adults in England who are eligible have already had their third jab with the help of our Give Britain a Booster campaign.

In total, 29.9million people across the UK and 25.1million in England have been for a booster, with 5.3million being given in the last week alone.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I have been absolutely blown away by the public response to our national mission for everyone to Get Boosted Now.

“It’s a testament to the incredible work of all of our NHS staff and volunteers. And I couldn’t be more grateful to people across the country for their community spirit in coming forward to secure vital protection for themselves and their loved ones.”

Figures from the UK Health Security Agency last night showed there have been a total of 60,508 confirmed Omicron cases in the UK with another 143,000 going through final checks.

So far 133 confirmed cases have been admitted to hospital, although this is likely to be higher as well.

Fourteen people diagnosed with Omicron have died. The situation is worst in London, which so far has almost a third of all England’s cases of the mutant strain.

Covid hospital admissions there are rising, with another 245 on Sunday, the highest since February.

NHS bosses have ordered hospitals to empty as many beds as they can and scale up intensive care units in preparation for a surge in January.

Gloomy modellers from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned Covid admissions in England could hit 2,000 per day by the end of the year, driven on by the new strain.

By Prof Robert Pearse

VACCINATION was always our only real way of getting out of the pandemic.

We're all in this together and my health choices about getting vaccinated could affect your health.

And often, it will be people closest to us, the people we love and care most about, who will be the most in danger if we choose not to get vaccinated.

All of my family are vaccinated, including my daughters, because I know it's the best way to keep all of us safe.

I understand that many people have questions and I would urge them to go and speak to a doctor or pharmacist who knows about the vaccine before they decide not to get it.

The NHS is waiting to see a very large wave of Covid admissions because there have been so many infections recently.

London is being hit first but we expect it to spread all across the country.

The big uncertainty is if Omicron will be more resistant to vaccination than older variants.

But even if it doesn’t work as well it’ll still be really important to get vaccinated and boosted.

In ICU, my colleagues around the country and I see that about four out of five Covid patients, maybe more, are unvaccinated — and the few who are not often already have an immune problem.

Obviously the great majority of us are vaccinated so you're always going to get a few patients with Covid even though they’ve had the vaccine.

But what we see is that the risk of getting sick and coming to hospital, and then being in an intensive care unit, is much higher for unvaccinated people.

Almost all of our unvaccinated patients who are well enough to talk say they have been anxious about getting the vaccine, or didn’t know who to believe.

But the most common thing they say is: “Can I have the vaccine now please?”

Unfortunately, once you’ve got Covid you have to wait until you're better before you can have the vaccine, so I would urge people not to wait until it’s too late.

Critical units will have to take over other areas of hospitals and draft in more nurses if patient numbers rocket, meaning care on other wards may be scaled down.

Prof Pearse said: “The big worry is that we won’t have enough fully trained ICU staff. We’re having to supplement nurses with those from other areas like operating theatres, so it inevitably has a big impact on other things that the NHS does and other patient care.

“So even if your problem isn’t Covid it’s going to affect your health care. But I am optimistic that we’ve got a huge amount of experience dealing with Covid and staff are so well-drilled. We know we’re able to deal with this.”

There are also positive signs on the data front, with the huge jumps in cases seen last week now calming down. Positive tests have not risen above 93,000 since hitting the huge figure last Friday.

Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, said: “It’s looking good that case numbers may have plateaued.

“Case numbers have been pretty level for six days now so I’m reasonably sure we are no longer seeing exponential growth.”

Experts say people’s behaviour has changed ahead of Christmas, with more staying at home, robbing the virus of chances to spread.

But they warn the risk is still high and infections are still spreading fast. Sir Jeremy Farrar, a former member of Sage, said the rate of spread was “eye-wateringly high”.

He said: “My personal view is that I think we can wait at the moment until there are more restrictions formally placed. But each of us can do a lot of things today that would make the chances of further restrictions lighter.

“More data will be available today and tomorrow and I would act on those if transmission is rising still and if hospitalisations are going up across the country.”

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