YouTube has a “role to play” in encouraging younger people to get their Covid-19 vaccine according to the firm’s UK boss.

To take advantage of its influence with people aged 35 or under, YouTube have partnered up with the NHS and launched a campaign to encourage young people to get their Covid jab.

The campaign, with the tagline Let’s Not Go Back, which will run on the video platform as well as on social media and in other outlets, comes as the vaccine rollout in England is set to be opened up to those aged 35 and over this week.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, YouTube UK managing director Ben McOwen Wilson said the platform reached “98% of the UK’s 16 to 34-year-olds” and as the jab rollout began to reach younger adults it was vital they had “access to the facts about the vaccine”.

“What our campaign is around is a light-hearted way to ensure that they’re reminded to inform themselves around what the vaccine is, what the risks of the vaccine are, and the best way for them to move forward through that vaccination process and we’re delighted to work with the NHS on that,” he said.

The campaign comes as new analysis found the UK’s worst hotspots are being driven by a sharp rise in cases among younger age groups.

Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen are currently recording the highest Covid-19 rates in the UK, with the spread of the Indian variant of coronavirus driving a steep increase in cases.

But in each of the three areas, case rates among younger people are running at a much higher level than those for older age groups, according to analysis of the latest data by the PA news agency.

In response, Professor Adam Finn, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there is a two to three-week delay between a first dose of the vaccine and protection beginning to emerge, meaning any action taken now will have a limited impact on what happens in the short-term.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi for the “flexibility to give younger people the vaccine in those parts of London concerned about this strain”.

Mr Khan told Sky News on Monday that “what we are saying is be nimble in those pockets where we know there is an issue – let’s use the vaccine sensibly”.

Professor Adam Finn of the JCVI told Sky News he understood Mr Khan’s desire for flexibility to vaccinate younger age groups, but said: “The two issues with that are that, first of all, we’re really not quite sure how well the vaccines will interrupt transmission, particularly for this new variant.

“We do know they protect people against getting sick and that’s something we can hold on to and use as a strategy.

“The other thing is that after a first dose of these vaccines, it does take two to three weeks at least before that protection begins to emerge, so what you do now is not really going to have much influence over what happens over the next couple of weeks.

“So, for those two reasons we do need to think strategically about what we do with the vaccine doses that we’ve got at the moment over the next two weeks right around the country, in order to minimise the chances of this new variant causing a very major third wave.”