‘Invincible, young, healthy’: Ohio’s young adults don’t want coronavirus vaccine
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Unfounded fears the coronavirus vaccine will cause infertility, the need to question the authority and politicization of vaccines are cited as the main reasons for the delay in vaccination rates among young people in Ohio and across the country.
“It’s frustrating,” said psychologist Juanita Martin, executive director of counseling and accessibility at Akron University. “Young people have the feeling of ‘I’m invincible, I’m young, I’m healthy, nothing is going to happen to me.’ The broader implications just don’t resonate with them.
The rapidly spreading Delta variant infects young people around the world. This makes the vaccination of this population more important.
National trends are also observed in Buckeye State.
While vaccination rates for Ohioans exceed 70% for every age group over 60 – up to 84% for those over 70 – based on the number of people receiving at least one injection , they are much lower for younger age groups. Until Thursday, the rates were 39% for people in their 20s and around 30% for those 12 to 19.
As of April, Americans 16 and older have been eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. And those who are only 12 years old could start getting the vaccine in May.
The White House admitted this week that the country would miss its target of 70% of U.S. adults having received at least one vaccine by July 4, in part because of vaccine resistance among 18-26 year olds.
“Many young Americans felt that COVID-19 was not something impacting them and they were less anxious to get the vaccine,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said, during a recent press briefing.
According to Adults aged 18 to 24 were the least likely to report having received a COVID-19 vaccine and were most likely to report that they were not, according to a new survey from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults aged 18 to 24. sure to get vaccinated.
Overall, 34% of adults between the ages of 18 and 39 reported receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the survey.
Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, as well as non-Hispanic black adults and those with less education, with lower household incomes and without health insurance, had the lowest number of vaccinations and the lowest intention to get vaccinated.
Question authority, believe in myths
More and more young adults no longer automatically agree with their parents’ opinions on many things, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
“You question everything, you do not conform to what your parents, your teachers, your relatives tell you,” said Carolyn Ievers-Landis, clinical psychologist at University Hospitals.
Their social peer group has a great influence on the decisions of young people, said Eileen Anderson-Fye, associate professor of bioethics at Case Western Reserve University. Many believe COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility because they heard it from social media influencers or classmates.
“I feel like Tik Tok University is where people get their education,” said Sheerli Ratner, clinical family medicine psychologist at MetroHealth Systems. “Young people do not have the capacity to think for themselves and do not have the capacity to think critically. “
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes pregnancy or fertility problems, the CDC said.
However, the CDC is tracking “rare but higher than expected” cases of heart inflammation in young people who have received two injections of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, according to news reports.
This week, a panel of CDC advisers said the vaccines are likely linked to cases of myocarditis and pericarditis, but stressed that the benefits of the vaccination outweigh the risks.
Some young athletes are aware of this complication, but overall, it’s not a major reason some young people avoid the vaccine, Anderson-Fye said.
Vaccination rates among adults are split across parties, and so are young people, Anderson-Fye said. There is activism on the pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine side of the issue.
Some unvaccinated youth lack good role models at home who can talk to them about their social responsibility to get the vaccine, or not believing everything they see or hear on social media, Ratner said.
“They don’t have the full picture,” Ratner said. “They need stronger role models to remind them that it’s important to do the right thing and be part of a socially responsible movement.
Others, who are people of color, are wary of the health care system because of past abuse of blacks by the medical community, Martin said. “They think the vaccine is part of this system,” she said.
Still others are more disinterested than hesitant. While hesitant people take a wait-and-see attitude, selfless young adults don’t believe COVID-19 is a threat or concerns them, Martin said.
Campus vaccination mandates reflect political divide
Unvaccinated students at some colleges and universities will have to make a choice in the fall: get vaccinated or not show up on campus.
More than 500 colleges and universities nationwide plan to require COVID-19 vaccination for at least some of their students and employees this fall, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The vast majority of schools with a vaccination mandate are in states that voted for President Joe Biden in last year’s election, reflecting the country’s political divide, according to news reports.
Colleges in Ohio requiring vaccination, according to bestcolleges.com, are Cleveland State University, College of Wooster, Kenyon College, Mount St. Joseph University, and Ohio Wesleyan University.
The students push back.
A group of Indiana University students are suing that school’s vaccination rule in federal court, saying they feel pressured to get the vaccine, according to news reports.
The subject of vaccination warrants has caught the attention of Ohio lawmakers. Earlier this month, lawmakers considered a bill, HB 248, that would remove existing vaccine mandates and prevent any new requirements for COVID-19 vaccines.
The bill lacked the necessary votes to get out of committee, but on Thursday the House GOP passed elements of the bill adding them to unrelated legislation that allocates federal coronavirus relief funds.
The bill is now headed to the Senate for possible approval.
The new language prohibits private and public entities from requiring someone to receive a vaccine that has not received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The vaccines manufactured by Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson have been urgently approved by the FDA, although Moderna and Pfizer have requested full approval and are expected to receive it later this year.
It also prohibits public and private entities “to the extent permitted by federal law” and elsewhere in state law, from requiring persons to “engage or refrain” from activities as required. ‘they may or may not be vaccinated.
How to talk to your young adult about immunization
Changing a young person’s opinion is difficult, but a calm dialogue works better than threats, arguments or shame, said counselors who work with this age group.
“Parents cannot be that negative, sermonizing, critical person, or the young people will not come to see us,” said UH’s Ievers-Landis.
Parents need to realize that they are no longer responsible for their child’s health, said Ievers-Landis. Accepting the young person’s right to take risks, which is another developmental characteristic of this age group.
Don’t let a vaccine debate destroy relationships.
“It’s going to be over, and you will still have the rest of your life to have a positive relationship with this young adult,” said Ievers-Landis.
Here are some other tips, according to student and youth counselors, for talking to a young adult about immunization:
* Have an open discussion. Try to understand how the young person formed an opinion.
* Don’t use shame or say that someone is a bad person because of their beliefs.
* Don’t tell young adults that their beliefs about the vaccine are wrong. Ask the person to trace the source of what they have been told about the vaccine.
* Try to relate individual goals to public health goals, emphasizing how the vaccine can help protect a grandparent or allow college campuses to fully reopen.
* Provide personal stories about family members or other young people who have been helped by the vaccine.