LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the vaccine rolls out, so too do opinions causing more youth to speak out about whether or not they will get the COVID-19 shot. One survey by NBCLX and Morning Consult in March 2021 showed 23 percent of Generation Z and millennial adults ages 18 through 34 said they would never get the vaccine.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said having the youth vaccinate is crucial for herd immunity.
"For our younger population, the people who feel like this might not affect them or it's not as serious for them, it is," LFCHD Communications Director Kevin Hall said. "Think about your parents. Think about your grandparents that you can carry this to them and make them very sick, cause them, unfortunately, to die from this because people have 70 and older in Lexington, in Kentucky are the ones most at risk for death."
Hall said receiving the shot will be of benefit to young people beyond protection.
"This will help us open up restaurants, businesses, it will help people get to ballgames, this spring, the summer; the fall," Hall said. "This will make things back to how it was in some sense, pre-pandemic."
Freshman University of Kentucky student Izzy Davis said although she would be willing to get the shot, she knew people who were far more hesitant.
"Some people who have already had COVID are a little bit reluctant to get it because they feel like they're immune now that they've had it, so they don't see the point in getting the vaccine," Davis said.
Overall, though she said she was surprised how many people she knew who already got it.
"I think that just shows our eagerness, as a University to get back to normal," said Davis. "We'll all do it eventually it's just a matter of getting the ball rolling."
One UK senior, Eleni Digens, said she already got her shot and would not be upset if UK required it to go to school in-person.
"I think that's understandable, you know, given this pandemic, and we're all trying to get out of it as quick as possible so, you know, we have the cure here and, you know, if we have the available dosages then, yeah, I think making it a requirement would be a good thing," said Digens.
Davis said if push came to shove, she thinks her freshman peers would also oblige to the shot.
"I think people might moan about it under their breath but in all reality, we just want to get back to normal, especially people in my position as freshmen who haven't had a college experience," explained Davis. "We'll do anything to get back to normal and be able to have what everybody else has been able to have."
Hall said, unlike other pandemics, the coronavirus pandemic has an extra hurdle: the internet.
"If you look at the 1918 Influenza outbreak, that's compared to a quite a bit from public health experts but this is so different in the sense of, now you have social media and the people who are opposed to vaccines or don't believe that COVID-19 is even an issue who are spreading misinformation on a daily basis wide and far," stated Hall. "So, we have to really increase our efforts as part of the 'LEX Do This' campaigns to let people know that this is safe, it is effective that you need to get shot in order to stay protected."
"We'll all do it eventually it's just a matter of getting the ball rolling," said Davis.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ages 16 and up to receive the Pfizer vaccine and 18 and up to receive the Moderna vaccination.
As of Monday, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department noted they only distribute the Moderna vaccine but have many slots open to vaccinate Lexingtonians.