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Young people’s next big COVID-19 test

Monitoring Desk

Young, healthy people will be at the back of the line for coronavirus vaccines, and they’ll have to maintain their sense of urgency as they wait their turn — otherwise, vaccinations won’t be as effective in bringing the pandemic to a close, Axios’ Marisa Fernandez reports.

The big picture: “It’s great young people are anticipating the vaccine,” said Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas. But the prospect of that enthusiasm waning is “a cause for concern,” she said.

Where it stands: Right now, young Americans are eager to get vaccinated.

  • 62% of adults 18-44 years old say they would be willing to get a coronavirus vaccine, Gallup polling shows.
  • 75% of students nationwide said they would probably or definitely take an FDA-approved vaccine, according to new polling from Generation Lab.

Yes, but: The most vulnerable people — frontline workers, older Americans and people with underlying health problems that can cause severe coronavirus illness — will be the first priority as a limited number of vaccine doses become available.

  • The lowest-risk Americans — generally, people who are young and healthy — may not get access to the vaccine until 2022, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist recently predicted.
  • “As more people get vaccinated, young people may think, ‘Oh, other people got it, so I don’t have to worry about it so much,'” Mullen said.

How it works: The WHO has estimated that roughly 60%-70% of the U.S. population would need to get vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity, the key to stopping the virus from spreading widely.

  • That’s only achievable if a lot of low-risk people get vaccinated.

Courtesy: Axios

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