THE doctor leading the Covid-19 vaccination programme in West Yorkshire is calling on those who haven't been vaccinated to get their jabs, as hospital admissions for the virus continue to rise sharply. 

Recent data also shows that younger age groups are now making up a significant proportion of those being admitted to the region’s hospital with Covid-19. 

At Airedale, 61 per cent of those admitted last week were under 55, with 27 per cent under the age of 35.

And at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, 46 per cent of Covid patients were aged under 45, with 29 per cent aged under 35 and 14 per cent aged under 25. 

Dr Phil Wood, the Senior Responsible Officer for the West Yorkshire Vaccination Programme, said: “We have seen week-on-week rises in hospital admissions for coronavirus stretching back several weeks now and it’s vitally important that people realise Covid-19 is definitely not over.” 

Latest figures show that 176 people were receiving treatment in hospitals across West Yorkshire last week, more than four times as many as at the end of May when 42 people were being treated. 26 of these are currently in intensive care compared to the 11 in May. 

At The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates hospitals in Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury, patient admissions for Covid-19 more than doubled in a week from 21 on Thursday,  July 8 to 45 on July 15.

With all remaining restrictions lifted earlier this week, people who are yet to be vaccinated or who had their first dose more than eight weeks ago, are being urged to visit one of the many walk-in vaccination clinics in the region or book an appointment at 

“I think there is a mistaken belief that only people who are elderly or have a pre-existing health condition will need hospital treatment for Covid-19 but as the figures show, this is not the case; this virus can affect anyone,” said Dr Wood. 

While the vaccination history of patients is not released by all hospitals, Dr Wood says that his experience of speaking to staff on Covid wards at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provides a clear indication of the risks people are taking by not getting their jab.  

“I know from the conversations I’ve had with staff and patients that a significant proportion of people hospitalised with Covid-19 are either unvaccinated or have not had their second dose, particularly in the younger age groups.  

“While some people who are vaccinated may still need hospital care if they catch Covid, the fact remains that if you are fully vaccinated you have around 85 per cent protection against a hospital admission so this is far less likely. 

With infections expected to continue to increase as people interact more and no longer have to wear face masks outside of clinical settings, Dr Wood said: “Now restrictions have been eased we will inevitably see a continuing rise in cases so why gamble with your health or risk losing the new freedoms that the vaccination programme has brought for everyone- get fully vaccinated as soon as you possibly can.”  

Meanwhile, a new Government campaign has been launched across England to remind public of importance of continuing healthy behaviours to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

The full list of actions being invited to continue include:

  • Booking your first or second vaccine if eligible without delay
  • Letting fresh air into enclosed spaces  
  • Regularly twice weekly testing  
  • Taking a PCR test even if you only have mild symptoms 
  • Checking in to venues using the NHS Covid-19 App 
  • Washing hands often and carrying hand sanitiser
  • Wearing face masks when in close proximity to others and distancing not possible, particularly in enclosed spaces such as public transport or small shops  

A Short film featuring Bradford's Dr Amir Khan highlights importance of remaining cautious as those vaccinated can still pass on the virus.

He said: "Thanks to the nation’s efforts, we are now able to travel to family and friends across the country, and visit the places that we love and have missed – such as cinemas, sports stadiums and restaurants. But whilst we can enjoy the benefits of restrictions lifting, please remember that Covid-19 is still with us; good ventilation indoors, regular testing and handwashing are just some of the actions that will help stop the spread

"If you have the virus, its particles bind to you; these particles are spread while you talk, exhale, eat, or perform other normal daily activities – which makes continuing to carry out these simple actions so important. Being vaccinated helps protect you and those around you further, because the vaccine limits the volume or quantity of viral particles shed by individuals who are infected with the virus.

"All these actions are common sense and second nature to us now, I would encourage people to keep doing them and help keep life moving.”