Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Dr. Vivek Murthy Explain the Vaccination Situation in the U.S.

Vaccination U.S. BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of wbur.org

The dangers of COVID-19 seem to be dissipating. Well, at least compared to last year. However, this doesn’t mean that the coast is clear. There are still some hoops we must jump through until we can all let our guard down, and said hoops revolve around vaccination. More specifically, getting the American youth vaccinated.

Yesterday, BELatina News joined a press call with Douglas Emhoff, Second Gentleman of the United States, and Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States, where we discussed that plenty of young people in the United States remain unvaccinated. 

The U.S. has administered more than 300 million shots in 150 days. That’s at least one shot to 70 percent of adults 30 and older.

The Second Gentleman said that cases and deaths have dropped by more than 90 percent since last year, but more work needs to be done. 

“Less than half of people from the ages 18 to 24 have one shot, that’s 42 percent,” the Second Gentleman said. 

Being that it is COVID Month of Action, this raises a lot of concern.

Many younger Americans believe that COVID-19 is not something that impacts them, which is why many of them discard the idea of vaccination.

Though things seem to be looking up, there are now variants, such as the Delta variant, to worry about, and many Americans are not taking into consideration.

The Delta variant has entered full force in some places around the world — the United Kingdom is one of them. In fact, 100 percent of the new COVID cases are due to this variant. On the other hand, over 20 percent of COVID cases in the United States are now linked to the variant, a number that has doubled in the last two weeks alone. 

“Fortunately, we know that two doses of mRNA vaccines are effective against the Delta variant,” Dr. Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States, said.

Another risk that everyone should be aware of is life after being infected with COVID. An unvaccinated person is leaving themselves exposed to contract COVID-19, and even if they do survive it, they might have to endure the post-COVID conditions that the CDC is now also calling long COVID

It is important to note that COVID doesn’t discriminate, and vaccination is more crucial than ever. 

Even though they [younger Americans] are at lower risk than older people, they haven’t been entirely spared,” Dr. Murthy said. “In fact, we’ve seen more than 15,000 adolescents and kids hospitalized with COVID during this past year.”

“And adults and adolescents have died, hundreds of them from COVID over this past year, and we’ve also had many young people who have struggled and continue to today.”

In order to help the American youth avoid such unfavorable situations, the government is working with the private sector to offer new incentives for young people to get vaccinated. This week, new vaccination initiatives were announced, and they are as follows:

  • Panera will offer anyone who gets the COVID-19 vaccine a free bagel on July 2, 3, or 4.
  • Chipotle will offer a free burrito (buy one get one free) on July 6 to celebrate our progress in getting vaccinated.
  • Walgreens will offer people getting vaccinated $25 in Walgreens cash rewards.
  • GoPuff, a delivery service, provides $25 in gift cards to colleges across the country to distribute to students who get vaccinated at their on-campus clinics.
  • Instacart is running sweepstakes where you can win a $500 gift card.
  • Shine, a daily self-care app, will offer a free, 15-minute long meditation called “Relaxed While You Get Vaxxed,” created to help people wind down and take a moment to themselves after getting your vaccine during the 15-minute waiting period.
  • Twitch and Riot Games: Will include messaging and graphics in weekly broadcasts, host events with influencers, run ads in support of vaccinations, and provide medical League of Legends skin bundles to their network of influencers and streamers who are helping share facts and resources on where to get vaccinated.

The goal is to get as many people, including young Americans, vaccinated by July 4th. 

If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, know that it’s easier than ever. Americans can go to vaccines.gov, or they can text their zip code to GETVAX (438829) or VACUNA (822862) to get contact information of three locations near them with available vaccines. These resources will also help arrange for transportation to the sites if needed.

So, have you gotten vaccinated?