- To prevent you from becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus and potentially suffering from “long COVID”
Death or Serious Illness
It is crucial to get vaccinated because this will prevent you from becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus.
Although the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, such as those with heart or lung disease, are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms, COVID-19 is indiscriminate. It can affect people of any age.
Risk of Long COVID
For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last for weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is called post-COVID-19 syndrome or “long COVID”.
Studies have suggested that young, low risk patients with ongoing symptoms of COVID-19 had signs of damage to multiple organs four months after initially being infected.
In a survey by the Office for National Statistics in November 2020, around one in five people who tested positive for COVID-19 had symptoms that lasted for 5 weeks or longer, and one in 10 people had symptoms that lasted for 12 weeks or longer. These figures equate to an estimated 186,000 individuals in England who had symptoms persisting between 5 and 12 weeks.
- To reduce the unprecedented demand on the NHS
COVID-19 can cause serious complications requiring prolonged hospitalisation – only taking the vaccination will prevent this.
The situation is already putting unprecedented demand on the NHS, and we at risk of overwhelming the NHS. As at 19 January 2021, the UK has nearly 30,000 patients in hospital with COVID-19. This is 62% more than the first peak in April 2020.
The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Sir Chris Whitty, described the situation as the “most dangerous situation in living memory”.
Christina Pagel, Director of UCL’s Clinical Operational Research Unit details what an ‘overwhelmed’ NHS looks like, and why we must all take note.
- To help the country develop “herd immunity” and lift lockdowns
Experts estimate that to break the chain of transmission, in excess of at least 80% of the population needs to be vaccinated to stop the pandemic. When enough of the population is vaccinated, the virus has a hard time finding new people to infect, and the epidemic starts dying out.
The number of people who need to be vaccinated is known as the critical vaccination level. Once a population reaches that number, you get herd immunity. Herd immunity is when there are so many vaccinated people that an infected person can hardly find anyone who could get infected, and so the virus cannot spread to other people.
Taking the vaccination is the only way for us to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will enable social distancing restrictions to be lifted and to put an end to lockdowns.
- To help others who cannot be vaccinated
It is very important to protect people who cannot get vaccinated – either due to their serious underlying health conditions or those who have allergies to the vaccines available. By enough people taking the vaccine, we can develop herd immunity and eliminate the virus out of circulation.
This is the only way to protect people who are unable to take the vaccine – who are often the most vulnerable in our society.