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Youth COVID vaccinations still trail older adults by wide margin in California

Vaccine hesitancy, myths, misinformation or simply saying no to the shot among the reasons

CALIFORNIA, USA — It appears younger people are not so excited about their chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Although the vaccines only became available for youth ages 12-17 in Mid-May, the latest state statistics show only about one in three kids ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated. That compares to about two out of every three older adults ages 65 and up who are fully vaccinated.

"I have talked to many parents, many kids about vaccination and there is some vaccine hesitancy," says Dr. Dean Blumberg, professor and Chief of Pediatric Diseases at UC Davis Children's Hospital.

He says he still sees a number of children's COVID cases, some as young as newborns.

"COVID is still with us. It's still a risk and your risk of getting COVID are much higher than any side effects from the vaccines," Blumberg said.

In Sacramento County, 28% of people age 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated. However, further south the numbers drop off even more.

In San Joaquin County, close to 20% are fully vaccinated, and the numbers drop to 18% in neighboring Stanislaus County.

Youth leaders like 21-year-old Valentino Silva of Stockton, who got vaccinated over a month ago, said his friends have a number of reasons why they are saying "no" to the vaccine.

"It's the mark of the beast. They're implanting you with a chip. Some may not even believe it; some think it may be water," Silva said.

Silva and other youth leaders organized and launched a COVID Social Media Campaign and Memorial/Candlelight vigil tonight at Stockton's MLK Plaza to honor those lost in the pandemic.

Silva is also hoping to raise awareness for more funding from the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County to go toward communities most impacted by COVID-19, like the Latino and African-American communities.  

"Just to ensure that they are provided with the proper resources so that they can make an informed decision," Silva said.

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