Millennials, Stop Slacking and Get the Vax, White House Urges

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Public health officials urged millennials, college students, and other young adults eager to return to their pre-pandemic lives to go and get vaccinated, during a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing on Friday.

Not only is it the safe thing to do personally, but it’s also the right thing to do for your community, officials said.

Only about one in five 18- to 29-year-olds and fewer than one in three 30- to 39-year-olds are currently fully vaccinated, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH.

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Walensky, as she sometimes does, made the issue personal by sharing how her entire family “leaned in” to getting vaccinated.

Her husband, a pediatric oncologist, got his shot to keep himself, his family, and his patients safe, she said, while two of her sons, ages 19 and 21, got theirs because they’re eager to return to college next year.

And beaming, she announced, much to his likely mortification, that her 16-year-old fully vaccinated son, planned to have two other fully vaccinated friends over to watch a movie on Friday — a “seemingly mundane but now very luxurious event,” Walensky said.

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“And he can do so because he’s fully vaccinated,” she said. “And I rest easy knowing my family will be safe, and that is simply the best Mother’s Day gift I could get this year.”

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, in his own remarks, shared that vaccine confidence is only one of the issues preventing people from getting vaccinated.

Research is showing that a “substantial portion” of Americans have other reasons for not getting their shot, including a lack of time, lack of information, conflicts with work, and being uncertain about their eligibility, he said, adding that some have even suggested they felt it was “unnecessary.”

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But Murthy stressed that couldn’t be less true: “It really does matter, because even if you’re not at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, we know that you can still get infected, even without symptoms, and spread the virus to others who are at higher risk of hospitalization and death,” he said, which is how many people contracted the virus and died from it.

“When you get vaccinated, though, you break that chain of transmission by giving the virus one less place to hide in your community,” Murthy added.

The response team reiterated President Biden’s goal, announced earlier this week of getting 70% of adult Americans vaccinated by July 4. Meeting the goal would require about 100 million more shots in arms over the next roughly 60 days, said White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.

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Murthy also hammered home his point that the only way for cases to “come down and stay down is for everyone to get vaccinated. That’s how you can protect your community and how all of us return to the activities and the life we love,” he said.

  • Shannon Firth has been reporting on health policy as MedPage Today’s Washington correspondent since 2014. She is also a member of the site’s Enterprise & Investigative Reporting team. Follow

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