A 16-year-old girl from Redbridge has encouraged others to have the vaccine after almost dying from Covid.

Areeb Khan, of Chadwell Heath has been in hospital since August when her COVID-19 symptoms led her to collapse at home.

The teenager was rushed to King George Hospital when her oxygen levels were below 50 per cent following her collapse.

Just two days later, her parents were called to say she was “critically ill” and needed to be transferred to the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge to be put on life support, as they went to collect her GCSE results without her.

For Areeb, the opportunity to have the vaccine came just days too late, with 16 and 17-year-olds invited to have the jab from August 4, she began having symptoms on Thursday, July 29.

She said: “I wish I could have had the vaccine. I think my story should absolutely encourage others to have it.

“I was given a 50/50 chance of survival, which was very hard for my family.

“I didn’t take it seriously enough before – I had no underlying conditions and even the doctors were shocked that I was so poorly.”

Areeb came to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, in October to continue her rehab and is having to re-learn many skills, including walking.

Nerve damage has caused foot pain and she can’t walk without support. She also suffered hair loss.

She is full of praise for NHS staff who "spent hours" holding her hand.