Third of Covid patients in hospital were admitted for OTHER health reasons

AROUND a third of Covid patients in hospital were admitted for a different health reason, official data has revealed.

The latest NHS figures showed the proportion of "incidental" virus admissions in England has risen to 29 per cent.

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It has led to suggestions the official figures on hospitalisations were misleading.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

"Incidental" Covid admissions are made up of people who go to hospital for reasons unrelated to the virus, such as a broken bone or another disease.

They then happen to be found to be Covid positive – either a mild case that wasn't their main complaint or they catch it in hospital.

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Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the MailOnline: "This is a nonsense. It’s almost certain that admissions for Covid are far lower than the figures suggest.

"We cannot make decisions based on hospital admissions when we don’t know how many were admitted for other reasons and subsequently tested positive."

Previously these admissions stood closer to 20 per cent of Covid patients in hospital, before the proportion increased in recent weeks.

On December 12 it was 25 per cent, before hitting 28 per cent a week later.

The most recent figure from December 21 is 29 per cent, with it expected to rise again in the next round of data.

Out of 6,245 beds taken by Covid patients, 4,432 were there to be primarily treated for the virus.

It comes as new analysis found there are seven time fewer Covid patients being taken to hospital than in the second wave driven by Alpha last winter.

The head of the Oxford Vaccine Group said coronavirus vaccines offer "superb protection" regardless of the combination of doses people have been given.

A mix of Oxford/AstraZeneca and BioNTech or Pfizer/Moderna jabs is effective at combatting Covid-19, Professor Andrew Pollard told BBC Breakfast.

"Whatever vaccines people have had, they're giving superb protection," he said.

"One thing we have to do is to continue monitoring what happens as new variants emerge," he added.

"There is still a lot of work to do. There are people in many countries who are still not vaccinated.

"We have some countries where that is still due to supply constraints because there's more doses to be distributed; in other countries it's around addressing vaccine hesitancy."

Yesterday Boris Johnson revealed 90 per cent of Brits being treated in intensive care with Covid have not had their booster vaccines.

On a visit to a vaccine centre in Milton Keynes, Mr Johnson said there were 2.4 million eligible double-jabbed people who were yet to take up the offer of a booster.

He said: "I'm sorry to say this but the overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted.

"I've talked to doctors who say the numbers are running up to 90 per cent of people in intensive care, who are not boosted.

"If you're not vaccinated, you're eight times more likely to get into hospital altogether.

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