COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the young
Anyone age 16 and older is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina, so is herd immunity right around the corner? The short answer is no.
“Those age 16–34 are getting vaccinated at a much lower rate than those who are older,” said Edwin Hayes, MD. He explained why it is important everyone eligible get vaccinated.
Why should young people get vaccinated?
“It is extremely important for individuals in this younger age group to get vaccinated in order for us to reach herd immunity,” said Dr. Hayes. There is still a lot of potential for an upswing in COVID-19 cases and vaccine hesitancy is contributing to that potential. It is important to remember the fundamental safety precautions for protection – good hand hygiene, mask wearing and social distancing. However, vaccination is the game changer.
How do we remove COVID-19 from our society?
“We need a large population to be vaccinated. This is what we mean when we say herd immunity. The less young folks getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the more the virus will perpetuate and the more we will see it continue to go on for years to come,” said Dr. Hayes.
Is there a concern for another increase in cases if young people don’t get vaccinated?
Dr. Hayes said absolutely. There is a lot of concern as individuals try to start congregating again without being vaccinated or following safety precautions. Every time there is a wave of cases, the risk of significant new mutations goes up.
“A false sense of security could lead to another uptick in cases. When you get vaccinated, you are personally setting an example that the vaccine is safe, accessible and you understand you are going to make a difference. Young people will be one of the pivotal groups to help end this pandemic for good,” said Dr. Hayes.
Get updates on the COVID-19 vaccine
Prisma Health’s COVID-19 vaccine timeline, distribution updates and other frequently asked questions can be found on our website. Please check back often for updates, which will be posted as they become available.