RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new Elon University poll shows only 32 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 plan to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
“In order for the COVID-19 vaccine to work, a big chunk of the population needs to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Alexa Mieses Malchuk, a family physician and professor of medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill.
She is not surprised to hear the low number.
“And that’s because they say, ‘Why me? I’m young, I’m healthy, I don’t get sick,’ and I think it’s easy to sometimes fail to recognize how you yourself, even if you haven’t gotten sick before, it doesn’t mean you can’t get sick in the future. And it doesn’t mean you can’t get others sick.”
Mieses Malchuk said people in that age bracket often don’t get a regular check-up and are also less likely to get the flu shot. That sense of invincibility is not only potentially dangerous for the person choosing to not get vaccinated, but also for other people.
“I think the main thing here is education. If more folks knew how the vaccine works, what sort of side effects they could expect they could make an informed decision and hopefully undergo vaccination.”
Making accessibility easier could also help. That includes the plan for vaccination events at college campuses when that age group qualifies.
“So, whatever we could do to bring the vaccine to where people live, work, go to school. I certainly think that would increase how many people want to get vaccinated by making it easier for them,” Mieses Malchuk said.
Parents should also talk to their college-age children about getting vaccinated and should consider having a conversation with their family physician.