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Health experts say we won’t reach heard immunity until younger age groups get vaccinated

East Biloxi Church hosts COVID-19 vaccination event
East Biloxi Church hosts COVID-19 vaccination event(WLOX)
Updated: Apr. 11, 2021 at 10:08 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Local health officials are worried not enough young people will get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I do get worried about our younger residents that may not be jumping to get vaccinated as compared to some of our middle age or older populations,” Dr. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Health Department said. “We’ve got to make a push to get the young people to these vaccine sites.”

Dr. Hicks said it’s important to vaccinate qualifying teenagers, because they are catching COVID-19 more than other ages.

“Now, the number one age group is age 5 to 24,” he said. “That means we are having more cases shifting to the younger and even younger population than it has been in the past.”

Children’s of Alabama Infectious disease expert Dr. David Kimberlin said teenagers getting their COVID-19 vaccines will play a crucial role in meeting heard immunity.

“We wont get to the threshold we need to truly let down our guard down, in a safe fashion, we are not going to get there unless children and adolescents are vaccinated,” Kimberlin said.

But, Kimberlin said it’s not just those who qualify who need to get the vaccine.

“We have got to have adolescents and increasingly as the authorizations drop to younger ages , and they will over really the next few weeks or months, we have got to include children,” he said. “Right now it’s just 16 to 17 year-olds, but it wont be long before it includes 12 and up.”

“We have got to be doing this first and foremost for their own health, but in addition to that, it is for the rest of us as well. It is for the rest of society,” Kimberlin said.

Dr. Hicks said the county will soon launch a vaccine site with later weekday and weekend hours.

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