Why young people need the COVID-19 vaccine

By getting vaccinated, you're protecting yourself and those you care about

If we want to get past the COVID-19 pandemic, or return to some form of normalcy, vaccinations are critical.

It’s what Sanford Health chief physician Jeremy Cauwels, M.D. wants everybody to understand.

“The vaccine is a win. I don’t want anyone to walk away thinking that it’s not,” said Dr. Cauwels.

Dr. Cauwels and other experts at Sanford Health have encouraged everyone, not just those with compromised immune systems or the elderly, to get vaccinated when they have the chance.

In other words, even if you’re young and healthy, you still need the vaccine.

When referencing recent COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations during a Sanford Health News interview, Dr. Cauwels said more providers are seeing more young people hospitalized with the virus.

“The people that are being hospitalized are consistently younger than we’ve seen previously,” he said.

‘It’s the responsible thing to do’

Jack Nachtigal is 24-years-old. After his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he spoke with Sanford Health News.

He got the vaccine because he’s not risking infection, hospitalization, or community spread. He asks that everyone his age wouldn’t either.

“It’s the responsible thing to do. The more than young people get it, the less variants will affect other people. It’s a great security blanket,” he said.

A security blanket not only for himself, but everyone.

“There’s definitely long term affects that we still don’t know about, so it’s a great way to protect yourself, your family, and loved ones,” he said.

“It’s something that makes you feel a lot safer as we start to re-enter normalcy. It’s something that feels good to have,” he added.

Vaccine rollout

Dr. Cauwels said taking a dose away from someone who’s immune compromised or older is a common reason some younger individuals haven’t been vaccinated. However, he said Sanford Health has done a great job, “getting the vaccines to the people that needed them.”

“We’ve gotten them to our elderly folks. We’ve gotten them to roughly 90 percent of our long term care residents. We’re getting to over 90 percent of our physicians.”

So, the vaccinations of younger people are now critical to end the fight against COVID-19.

It’s time now. We have the supplies. If you want a dose, get a dose. It’s okay to find your own spot in line,” said Dr. Cauwels.

Two doses

Across the nation, reports have surfaced of individuals only receiving one of the two Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations, for fear of side effects after the second dose.

More: New mom and Society senior pastor gets COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Cauwels said while the first dose does a good job of building up some immunity, it’s not clear exactly how much.

“The other thing we’re unsure of is how durable that is, or how long it will last. So, the correct way to get your vaccination, if you’re getting one of the two-dose vaccines, is still to get the two doses.

“Our recommendation is, and has remained, stick with the CDC’s recommendation, stick with the FDA approval, and get two doses,” he said.

Gathering after vaccination(s)

Along with the CDC’s guidance on vaccinations, Dr. Cauwels also said to follow their suggestions for gathering, even after you’ve been vaccinated.

“There are places where you’re going to feel very comfortable, like at your house, at your friends, in your yard. Those are places you don’t need to wear a mask, because the CDC has said that’s okay.

“The CDC has not stepped away from saying that in large crowds that you shouldn’t wear a mask, so for right now, that’s still the way we’re going to move forward.”

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Posted In Coronavirus, Healthy Living, Sioux Falls

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