INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Vaccination rates are dropping nationwide, but a certain demographic in Indiana is getting vaccinated at a much slower rate than others.
According to the state health department’s website, only 28% of people from age 20-29 are fully vaccinated in Indiana. In Marion County, young people make up a significant amount of the new COVID-19 cases, which is why the Marion County Public Health Department is launching a campaign to encourage them to get the shot.
Young people are proving to be more hesitant toward getting the COVID vaccine than older populations. “They make up almost 43% of our cases from 20-39 years of age,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, the county’s chief medical officer and the leader of the health department.
The age 20-39 demographic is known to have less severe COVID-19 symptoms and can oftentimes be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. “They don’t see the benefit of getting vaccinated and they feel that nothing serious will happen to them,” Caine said.
With the health department monitoring the Delta variant of COVID-19 from overseas, local experts are especially encouraging those from age 12-20 to step up and get vaccinated. “They are way more contagious and about 40% higher than our original COVID-19 strain,” Caine said.
In hopes of getting younger Hoosiers through the door, the Marion County Public Health Department is offering incentives to those who get vaccinated at this weekend’s clinic at Arsenal Tech High School. They will raffle off a $250 gift card from a retail mall group as well as other smaller prizes.
“If we can have them understand and be educated related COVID-19 and how important it is to get vaccinated, it can produce huge dividends for all of us in our community,” Caine said.
The health department will also start a series of social media and Google ads plus digital billboards to target the age 20-39 demographic. “We know we are still experiencing a significant number of cases that are occurring in that particular age group,” Caine said.
Caine says, for Marion County specifically, getting younger people vaccinated is a crucial step in moving forward. “It would be very difficult for us to move forward if we can’t get the attention of this group and get more vaccinated,” she said.
The health department has also planned pop-up clinics after this weekend.
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Clinic for children ages 12-17
The clinic will offer the Pfizer vaccine from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Arsenal Technical High School, 1500 E. Michigan St. Walk-ins are welcome. The clinic is for ages 12-17, but family members older than 17 can also get vaccinated at the same time, and walk-ins are welcome. Parental or guardian consent is required for a child ages 12-17 to be administered the vaccine. At the time of signing consent for the first vaccine dose, parents and guardians will have the chance to name alternate caregivers who may chaperone the child or teen for the second dose; those caregivers must be 18 or older.
Participants must enter through West Gym Door 3 off Oriental Street.
Added clinics on Saturday
- 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at a warehouse at 9503 E. 33rd St. The clinic will offer the Moderna and single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines for Marion County 18 and older. Walk-ins are welcome.
- 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Lafayette Place Shopping Center at 3685 Commercial Drive. The clinic for all ages will offer the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Parental or guardian consent is required for a child ages 12-17 to be administered the Pfizer vaccine. At the time of signing consent for the first vaccine dose, parents and guardians will have the chance to name alternate caregivers who may chaperone the child or teen for the second dose; those caregivers must be 18 or older. Walk-ins are welcome.