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Teenagers in Leon County hesitant about getting COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 18:29:15-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — A CDC report shows after initially decreasing in early 2021 COVID-19 hospitalization rates for ages 12 to 17 increased from March to April.

Despite the new data kids are still hesitant to get the vaccine.

Leon High student Jayland Johnson said a lot of the hesitation many kids have about the vaccine roots in social media.

"Especially with TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat," said Johnson. "There are so many rumors and things that aren't true about the vaccine being spread, and I feel like those things aren't helping the cause at all.

Johnson is an 11th grader at Leon County High School.

He said many teenagers are afraid the vaccine has been rushed and is unsafe for youth.

Director in the Division of Cardiopulmonary Science in the School of Allied Health Dr. Mary Simmons said that isn't true.

"They were already working on the vaccine, so they sped up the process, but it wasn't rushed," Simmons said. "I tell them [teenagers] about the clinical trials and the science behind how vaccines are created and that we found the vaccine to be safe for all."

Even with this information untrue, since the vaccine became available for youth age 12 and up in May, Bond Community Health said they've seen about 30-35 percent get their shot, which was lower than they expected.

"The younger population have that attitude of, I can't get it," Dr. Anneka Johnson with Bond Community Health said.

Dr. Johnson said she believes kids feel this way because the virus was shown to effect people age 55 and older more seriously.

Johnson said he's now using his voice to encourage his peers to get the vaccine.

"If you have older relatives, if you have people that are of age, if you have people that are younger, there are younger kids that have gotten sicker than older people. This is all just really an important cause," Johnson said.

The Old West Florida Enrichment Center is hosting a vaccine clinic on Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon to encourage more people to get the vaccine.

The center is at 2344 Lake Bradford Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32310.