Teens now receiving coronavirus vaccines

Will young adults get the shot in large numbers?

Ohio officially opened up eligibility Monday for the coronavirus vaccine to all residents 16 and older.

Several area providers had lowered the age requirement early last week to fill appointments, but now the entire state is open for vaccinations for everyone 16 and up.

Now health officials are watching for evidence of how interested younger people are in getting the vaccine. The oldest Ohioans demonstrated a strong desire to get vaccinated — more than 70% of Ohioans 70 and older have received at least one vaccine shot — but young adults may not.

Polls have indicated younger adults appear less likely to get vaccinated than older adults.

Dr. Joseph Allen, regional medical director at Premier Health, said there are two big reasons young people might not get the shot: misinformation — including a widespread myth that the coronavirus vaccine can cause infertility — and the fact that young people were not hit hard by the virus. Evidence has not found that the vaccines affect fertility.

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The 20- to 29-year-old age group has had the most coronavirus infections of any age group in Ohio but made up .001% of deaths in the state from the virus, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Children are even less likely to be hospitalized or die from the virus, according to the statistics.

“They didn’t see those bad outcomes that our older folks saw,” Allen said. “‘Well, why would I do that if it’s not gonna affect me?’ And really the answer to that is it’s going to affect other people. Even though you may not have a bad outcome, you can certainly still get (COVID-19) and pass it on to others.”

Darrian Walls, 36, of Dayton, got his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday at Five Rivers Health Center.

“I got the vaccine shot to protect other people around me from the coronavirus,” he said. He lives with his mother, who is 77.

Alexander Well, 25 from Dayton receives a COVID-19 vaccination Monday at Five Rivers Health Centers on Salem Ave.
Alexander Well, 25 from Dayton receives a COVID-19 vaccination Monday at Five Rivers Health Centers on Salem Ave.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Alexander Well, 25, of West Carrollton said he got the vaccine Monday at Five Rivers Health Center for similar reasons as well as to protect himself. He’s more at risk if he gets coronavirus because of his asthma, he said.

Well said most of the young people in his social circle are excited to get the shot.

At the University of Dayton Arena Monday afternoon, a steady stream of young people, many sporting collegiate and high school apparel or dawning face masks decorated with tiny superheroes, were among more than 2,000 people receiving a vaccine from Premier Health.

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While she got her shot, Chloe Heard, 20, closed her eyes and squeezed her 16-year-old sister Camille Heard’s hand. The sisters from Liberty Twp. in Butler County said their mom encouraged them to get the vaccine but it ultimately was their decision.

While she got her shot, Chloe Heard, 20, closed her eyes and squeezed her 16-year-old sister Camille Heard’s hand.
While she got her shot, Chloe Heard, 20, closed her eyes and squeezed her 16-year-old sister Camille Heard’s hand.

Credit: Jordan Laird

Credit: Jordan Laird

They said they are hearing mixed opinions on the vaccine from peers at their schools, Capitol University and Lakota East High School. Camille Heard encouraged others to trust science and get the vaccine to help everybody.

They said more young people will come around as they see others getting it.

“I think that if my friends see that I got (the vaccine) and I didn’t turn into an alien and walk away with five extra legs, (they will see) that this is okay,” Chloe Heard said.

Allen encouraged people on the fence about getting the shot to get their information from trustworthy sources such as public health officials and medical professionals. He said those who have been vaccinated will still need to follow precautions until more people are vaccinated.

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