May 14, 2021 May 14, 2021
The race to bring the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of Americans is now focusing on young adults and adolescents, who are eligible to receive it but do not necessarily feel very pressed to get immunized.
Overall, infections and hospitalizations from the new coronavirus have dropped more than 70% across the United States since the beginning of the year, but adults ages 18 to 34 account for more than half of the deaths, according to government data.
Experts believe that the rises in infection rates are due to the age group that has only recently been included in vaccinations and that is also more reluctant to get vaccinated.
The push to vaccinate the very young comes at a time when the number of Americans seeking to get vaccinated has dropped by a third, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We are looking for you if you are not vaccinated,” said Prince George’s County Executive in Maryland Angela Alsobrooks, who launched a door-to-door campaign after residents’ attendance at vaccination sites declined. The county is using phone calls and text messages to encourage residents, especially young people, to get vaccinated.
In other communities, teams of “vaccine ambassadors” visit parks, grocery stores, laundries and schools. Activists go to places frequented by young people.
“It’s not much different from registering to vote,” said Gaylene Kanoyton, founder of Celebrate Healthcare, an activist organization in Hampton, Virginia. “This is a campaign and we have two candidates: one is the vaccine for life and the other is COVID, for death.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and senior adviser for the White House pandemic, said he is aware that “a significant proportion of people who do not want to get vaccinated are young.”
As more restrictions are lifted, businesses, sports teams and state governments are offering special promotions to persuade young people and others to get vaccinated.
The biggest incentives are in Ohio, where Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the state will give away $ 1 million to five vaccinated residents ages 18 and over starting May 26. The state is using relief funds received from the federal government for that lottery.
Ohio is also offering vaccinated residents ages 12 to 17 the opportunity to win a four-year scholarship that includes tuition, room and books to a state public university.
In New York, Yankees and Mets baseball teams give away tickets to fans who get vaccinated at the stadium, and transportation companies Uber and Lyft don’t charge those who use them to get vaccinated – the entire round trip.
With information from Voice of America