Professor Rupert Pearse said most ICU Covid patients were not jabbed
Up to nine in ten Covid patients in London’s intensive care units are not vaccinated, a medic has claimed.
Professor Rupert Pearse, an ICU doctor at the Royal London Hospital, warned those who are well enough to talk often beg for doctors to vaccinate them immediately.
He said more patient were being admitted in their 20s and 30s who are not jabbed, as he begged Londoners of all ages to get vaccinated.
London has the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with just 61 per cent of eligible people double-dosed compared to the 82 per cent average across the UK.
The NHS and UKHSA do not provide a breakdown of hospital admissions by vaccination status.
Professor Pearse told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘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.’
He added: ‘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?”.’
It comes as London’s hospitals gear up for an anticipated surge in Covid admissions after becoming the country’s Omicron capital.
Professor Pearse is based at London Royal Hospital in the north of the capital. It currently has 25 patients in intensive care, according to the latest figures
Graph shows London’s daily Covid cases by date reported. It reveals they initially shot up when Omicron first emerged, but may now be stabalising despite predictions that infections are doubling every two to three days
The above shows that the vast majority of hospital admissions are still among the over-85s
More Covid curbs could be avoided if London’s hospitalisations do not surge above 400
Further Covid curbs could be dodged if London’s hospitalisations do not surge above 400 by the end of this week, it has been suggested.
The capital was first to feel the full force of the Omicron variant as cases skyrocketed.
Its Covid admissions have now doubled in a fortnight, with 245 recorded on December 19, the latest available.
Ministers and Government scientists are now watching hour by hour to see whether they hit 400 by the end of the week.
The i newspaper reports that although this is not a hard and fast threshold, if it is not reached it could mean that no legally enforced restrictions are needed after Christmas.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce tougher guidance in the coming days that would come into force on December 27.
Latest figures show its hospitalisations have doubled in a fortnight, with 245 admissions recorded on December 19.
Hospitals in London have doubled their ICU capacity in preparation for the winter.
But intensive care admissions are currently flat — likely due to the lag between infection and serious illness.
There are early signs that people being admitted to general wards with Omicron are experiencing milder illness.
Covid scientists and ministers are watching the capital’s numbers closely, and are understood to believe that if they surge above 400 this week it would be a warning sign that more restrictions are needed nationwide.
At Professor Pearse’s hospital, the Royal London, there were 25 Covid patients in ICU on December 14, and 25 patients on ventilators.
This was barely a change from two weeks ago, but most of these admissions are thought to be down to Delta because of the time taken for a Covid patient to become seriously ill.
Hospitalisation figures are not broken down by age between hospitals.
But older people — who are more at risk from the virus — still make up the majority of admissions.
The booster roll out which targeted older age groups first may explain why the hospital is currently seeing more admissions among younger people, who were only recently able to get the extra jabs.
In London 33.4 per cent of people have got a booster jab, compared to 52 per cent nationally.
There has not been enough time between the recent surge in infections in London for severe cases to start appearing in ICU.
London’s infections spiralled more than 60 per cent week-on-week yesterday, after another 20,491 cases were confirmed.
Many hospitals in the capital have already drawn up contingency plans to handle staff absences brought on by the variant – even if the disease does turn out to be milder and not cause a wave of admissions.
Current rules require staff who catch the virus to self-isolate. Those who are close contacts of a positive case must stay home until they get a negative PCR test which can take around three days.
Self-isolation was today slashed from 10 days to seven as long as someone gets two negative lateral flow tests to avoid a de facto lockdown.
Hospitalisations in the capital have doubled in a week, with the number of admissions now reaching 245. This is the highest level since late February when the country was still under tight restrictions.
The number of patients in ICU has remained around 200 over the last two weeks, although this is likely because of the lag between catching the virus and becoming seriously ill.
Staff absences have risen by more than half in a week, however, driven by the spread of Covid.
Nationally, hospitalisations are yet to surge but this may be because the variant has only recently spread to the rest of the country.