Misinformation may cause lower vaccination rates among younger Americans


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(WETM) – Vaccination hesitancy has stinted vaccination rates since the early spring, as more age groups became eligible. President Biden set a lofty goal of having 70 percent of the country vaccinated by July 4. While the United States will most likely not reach that goal, experts believe young people are to blame.

According to the New York Times, many young people between 18 and 30-years-old are hesitant to be vaccinated. A new federal report details that young people are least likely to report being vaccinated and are more likely to be unsure if they will get the vaccine. Local health experts say they are concerned young people are getting the wrong information about the vaccine on social media.

“I would switch off any of these internet sites that feed you what they think you want to know. Go to reputable public health sites,” Weill Cornell Medical Professor Dr. John Moore said.

Many experts believe false posts about vaccine side effects spread on social media, showing young people incorrect dangers to the vaccine that are not rooted in science.

“There’s a lot of information out there. Some of it is true. Some of it is not true,” Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith said.

The new delta variant poses a grave threat to young people who are unvaccinated because it spreads quickly. National health officials warn this type of COVID-19 will become the dominant strain.

“If you are not vaccinated, you’re at a huge risk. You can run, but you can’t hide. This variant will find you,” Dr. Moore continued.

This low vaccination rate comes as the FDA issued a new warning last week for myocarditis and other cardiovascular side effects for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Experts say the risk of these rare symptoms are low and there is a greater risk for similar problems if you contract the virus.

“There were reported examples of myocarditis and related cardiology problems in some younger people, but those same problems are caused by COVID,” Dr. Moore added.

Misinformation about symptoms continues to spread on social media, which is one of the primary resources for news for those in their late teens and early 20s.

“A lot of the younger generation gets their news off of Facebook and social media, rather than really researching and digging a little bit deeper side effects,” Smith said.

Side effects comvined with being the last group to be vaccinated takes away the urgency for younger Americans to get their shots.

“The feeling of urgency and the feeling of it being necessary in their lives when they’re last in line, I do think, has a negative impact on their willingness to just go ahead and get the vaccine,” Smith concluded.

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