There are “few, if any” Covid-19 hospital admissions among care home residents, one hospital leader has said.
In one hospital, 70% of admissions are among under-45s, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said.
Mr Hopson said the number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 is “ticking up” in some regions, but the rise is small compared with the peak seen in January.
Because of the younger age profile of those admitted, there is less pressure on critical care units – which were almost overwhelmed during earlier waves of the crisis, he added.
Admissions are mostly among younger people and those who have been offered the vaccine but have yet to take up the offer, Mr Hopson said.
A number are among those who have only had one dose of the vaccine, he added.
Mr Hopson told Times Radio: “Talking to a group of chief executives over the last few days in the areas that are most affected by the variant that originated in India, what we’re hearing is that hospitalisations are increasing, but they’re not increasing precipitously.
“One chief executive I spoke to said they had 20 hospitalisations last week, they’ve got 40 hospitalisations this week, they’re expecting 60 hospitalisations next week, but this was in a hospital that in January and February was trying to deal with 150 Covid-19 patients.
“So that gives you that sense of the fact that the hospitalisation rate is ticking up, but it’s certainly not at the levels that we saw in January and February when, as we know, the NHS in certain places was under real pressure.”
He added: “When you talk to the chief executives, what they say is that the balance of where Covid-19 patients are going is very different this time – in January and February, because you had much older, iller patients, you had much greater pressure on critical care because those patients were very seriously ill.
“What the chief executives are saying to us now is that because the age profile of those who are being hospitalised is so different – so again in the hospital I was speaking to yesterday, around 70% of the hospitalisations are (among people) under 45 – what they’re finding is that a much higher proportion of patients are actually being dealt with, and are being treated, in general and acute beds.
“So, as well as smaller numbers compared to the January and February, there’s actually lower levels of acuity and there’s less pressure on critical care.”
Mr Hopson continued: “The vast majority of people who are in hospital are people who have not been vaccinated, either because they were eligible and they haven’t come forward but also there are younger people who haven’t been vaccinated – that’s why you’re getting 70% of people who are hospitalised under 45.
“The chief executives are saying to us they can definitely see a difference in terms of profile between people who’ve had one jab and people who’ve had two jabs – in other words there are very, very small numbers of people who’ve had double jabs… it is clear that actually the one jab doesn’t give you the same level of protection as the second jab.
“So what those chief executives are saying to us is that they think that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has made the right decision by effectively saying ‘let’s try and get those second jabs done as quickly as possible’ because that definitely does give a kind of higher level of protection.”
He said that most of those currently in hospital have not had a jab, “a number” have had a single jab but “a very small number” are fully vaccinated with both doses.
Mr Hopson added: “Given the kind of profile of mortality that happened in the first and second phases, the need to ensure that we’re adequately protecting our care home residents is really important.
“So they’re very pleased that they are seeing very few, if any, cases of residents with Covid-19 coming in.”
It comes as one JCVI expert stressed that people should make sure they have their second jab.
Dr Maggie Wearmouth, a GP who sits on the JCVI, told Sky News that recent analysis was “incredibly encouraging” about the efficacy of the vaccines against the variant first identified in India.
“But the stress is on having two vaccine jabs,” she said. “That’s the most important thing is completing the programme.”
Mr Hopson said that A&E departments around the country are becoming busier as people who have put off care are now seeking help.
The increased numbers are also being driven by the “worried well”, he said.