By: Rachel Muller-Heyndyk
December 20 2021
The NHS has stated that it has been overwhelmed by unvaccinated COVID-19 patients on several occasions.
The NHS has stated that it has been overwhelmed by unvaccinated COVID-19 patients on several occasions. A post on Instagram, which has been viewed over 3,000 times, states: "We didn't overwhelm the hospitals when 100 percent of people were unvaccinated, how the hell are we going to overwhelm the hospitals when 70 percent of people are vaccinated?" This is not true. There are several accounts of NHS staff becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients both before and after the vaccine program was rolled out in the U.K. Health officials have stressed that vaccines are essential to bringing down the rate of serious cases of COVID-19, and have warned that social distancing and other measures may be reintroduced if the rate of infection remains high. On July 27, 2021, NHS staff wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that services were as stretched as they had been in January 2021, when approximately 1,000 people per day were thought to have died from the disease. Doctors and medical experts warned that the situation could get worse without adequate funding. While there are a number of stressors at play, COVID-19 has still placed an increased demand on services. The letter from NHS providers noted that growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, overstretched mental health services, and high demand for urgent and emergency care meant that: "chief executives are saying that the overall level of pressure they are now experiencing is, although very different in shape, similar to the pressure they saw in January of this year when the NHS was under the greatest pressure in a generation." In a separate letter, Nottingham University Hospital (NUH) said that 90 percent of its COVID-19 patients in intensive care were unvaccinated in July 2021. Just under half were under the age of 44. Sixty percent of COVID-19 patients in the hospital overall had not been vaccinated. In September 2021, Boris Johnson said that mandatory face masks and working from home would be reintroduced if rates of hospitalization remained high. The Financial Times reports that the NHS warned that daily hospital admissions could reach 7,000 per day, a rate higher than last winter when there were roughly 4,000 hospital admissions. Our World in Data notes that at present, almost 70 percent of people have received COVID-19 vaccines. However, Public Health England has said that the unvaccinated are almost three times more likely to need hospital care, according to the BBC. Of course, the full impact of COVID-19 cases on health providers over the coming months remains to be seen, but it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on services in the NHS, and that the crisis was at its worst before the vaccine rollout. The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.