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The Importance of Vaccines Among Younger Americans

Ever since the introductions of the different COVID-19 vaccines several months ago, most US residents have been willing to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves and those around them. The vaccine is critical in order to create a herd immunity effect, and hopefully spur the country back into pre-pandemic routine. However, there has been a noticeable lag noticed for one group. Younger Americans are slow to get vaccinated, even with vaccines available for those from twelve to fifteen years of age. Only a quarter of children ages 12 to 15 are fully vaccinated, which is less than any other eligible group, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surprisingly, that group became eligible to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine two months ago.

Unfortunately, several individuals have been devotedly spreading misinformation about the vaccine. They have made potential patients unwilling to listen to esteemed scientists and credible organizations. US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy plans to make a speech on how the so-called ‘fake news’ spread had become an urgent public health issue. The divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated has begun to break along political lines, with Democratic-leaning areas ahead of Republican ones in vaccination rates. With bitterness against President Joe Biden still fresh after the 2020 elections, opposing voters are not likely to listen to the pleas of him and his administration. However, the administration remains steady in their opinion that weaponizing words against the other party will not achieve the desired results. They are persistently working to stop the misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and the vaccine.

A study found that an alarmingly high number – 25% –  of young adults refuse to get vaccinated, citing various reasons. Some said they worried about side effects from the vaccine. Some said they might get the vaccine later if they determined it was safe. It is normal to have these fears, but important to educate yourself on where they are coming from. A relevant data source shows that there is only a 0.00126% risk of developing heart inflammation within 21 days of getting a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines for those ages 12 to 39. That’s less likely than getting struck by lightning! Regardless, the reluctance to get the needed doses is endangering the health and immunity of the individuals that suffer from pre-existing heart and lung conditions.

This issue is one that can only be tackled with public health measures and connecting with the unvaccinated. The White House itself has been trying very hard to convince US citizens to get vaccinated, especially as the new Delta variant is travelling rapidly and spreading in low-vaccination areas. According to CNN, Biden recently announced his administration would be increasing the rates of getting vaccines to pediatricians and other providers who serve younger people, so that adolescents ages 12 to 18 could get vaccinated as they go for check-ups ahead of returning to school and/or starting fall sports. In efforts to get young adults to vaccinate, the Biden administration invited teen music sensation Olivia Rodrigo to speak on July 14, 2021. She reinstated the importance of protecting yourself against COVID-19. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that Rodrigo offered to come to the White House. “We need to reach people, meet people where they are and speaking to young people — people who are under the age of 18, many of whom as we’ve seen across the country are huge Olivia Rodrigo fans — hearing from her that … getting vaccinated is a way to keep yourself safe, a way to ensure you can see your friends, a way you can ensure you can go to concerts, a way you can ensure that you can live a healthy life is an important part of what we’re trying to do here,” Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing.

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