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State Health Officials Say Upping The Youth Vaccination Rate Could Help Slow The Delta Variant

Officials: Upping The Youth Vaccination Rate Could Help Slow The Delta Variant
Ali Oshinskie
Connecticut Public
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker encourages teens and 20-somethings to get vaccinated on July 26, 2021. Leaders and public health officials spoke about the importance of young people getting vaccinated on the New Haven green.

With the delta variant spreading quickly in the state, officials are pushing for teens and 20-somethings to slow it down by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Heather Aaron, deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Health, wanted to make one thing clear Monday: Young people need to get vaccinated.

Standing in front of a group of college students on the New Haven green, Aaron said young people are the key to achieving herd immunity.

“We’ve got to get our population between the ages of 12 and 24 to be vaccinated,” Aaron said. “If that population was vaccinated, Connecticut would be over 80 percent [vaccinated].”

The 80% threshold is considered important for herd immunity. Right now, almost 70% of Connecticut residents have had at least one dose.

At the same time, the more contagious delta variant is threatening reopening efforts.

Aaron said teens and 20-somethings may think that even if they get COVID-19, “I’m not dying, I’m not getting that sick, therefore I don’t need it, I’m invincible. ”

The most stark reminder of the day came from Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.

“Ninety-nine percent of those who have gone to the hospital or died since December are people who have not been vaccinated,” she said.

Bysiewicz called this moment a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. She loves hearing what you thought of her stories or story ideas you have so please email her at aoshinskie@ctpublic.org.

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