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Younger Kentuckians under-vaccinated, even as COVID-19 cases rise in those populations

Published: May. 1, 2021 at 3:25 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Cases of COVID-19 among Kentuckians 40 and younger are rising.

Those age groups remain the least vaccinated populations in the Commonwealth but accounted for more than 9,000 new cases throughout April.

People 16 and older have been eligible to receive the vaccine since the beginning of April. Lexington-based Wild Health has focused on bringing the vaccine to all Kentuckians, including those on college campuses. However, Dr. Luke Murray said the turnout has been disappointing.

“For the most part, every other college has been the same.” Dr. Murray said. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, we have 2,000 students who haven’t been vaccinated. Come.’ And we’ll get just a few hundred.”

Dr. Murray said some younger Kentuckians get their first shot and don’t feel like coming back for the second, or they feel like they don’t have to since everyone else is getting the shots.

“They don’t understand that herd immunity is 60 to 70 percent of the population or more, and we’re nowhere near that.” Dr. Murray said.

And as cases are rising among younger people, Dr. Murray said people who had COVID-19 should still get the shot because immunity only lasts so long.

“When you get a case of covid, we don’t know exactly how much of the virus you were exposed to, how strongly your body reacted to it, and therefore, the degree of immunity that you now have to the virus,” he said.

Dr. Murray said he hopes all Kentuckians can have a strong immunity to the virus, and he said it starts with rolling up your sleeve for the vaccine.

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