Health officials see vaccine hesitancy, rising cases among college students, Fisher reacts

By Madison Weber ’23, Staff Writer and Social Media Editor

COVID-19 Vaccine. (Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash)

By Madison Weber ’23, Staff Writer and Social Media Editor

Recent spikes in COVID-19 cases locally has been contributed to mainly the younger generation — something that is a change from previous spikes.

“Most of our new cases are coming from high school students, college students and young professionals,” Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said in one of his weekly COVID-19 briefings.

According to a recent poll, Gen Z and Millennial adults between 18 and 34 are now the most likely generations to say they will either not get vaccinated (23%) or they don’t yet know (21%), with Gen Z adults (18-23 years old) particularly disinterested.

This is speculated to be due to a variety of factors, like warm weather, higher vaccination rates and pandemic fatigue. Many young people just got the opportunity to be vaccinated, but not all seem concerned with actually getting the vaccine. 

One anonymous St. John Fisher College student cites concerns over the long term effects of the vaccine as their rationale to not receive it.

“I’m just worried about the research that could come out five to 10 years from now that the vaccine is causing cancer or infertility or something like that.” The student references the recent pull of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to unforeseen side effects, like blood clots. 

As of now, the FDA commissioner expects the pause to last several days. With nearly 7 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines administered in the U.S., six women between the ages of 18 and 48 experienced issues with blood clots. There has been one fatality. 

However, some students are still planning on their vaccinations. Junior Josh Cook was scheduled to receive his shot at Fisher’s clinic up until the cancellation of the clinic. For Cook, the vaccine seemed important to get back to his normal life. 

“I figured they were going to make it mandatory for certain things like traveling or going to concerts and there’s no point in holding off forever.” Cook said.  “Most people our age that I know have told me they aren’t getting the vaccine,” either because they don’t trust it, or would rather just get COVID-19 as they are less likely to experience serious side effects, Cook added. 

Sophomore Annie Ernsteberger is also scheduled to receive her vaccination. For her, it comes as a way to “not only protect myself but also my family and my friends.” 

“If I get the virus I’m  more likely to be okay than my parents are, and I would not want to be the cause of anything seriously wrong happening.” Ernstberger also feels it is her “duty” as a future health professional to “both get the vaccine and encourage others to do the same.” 

When asked what she would say to someone on the fence about the vaccine, she says, “we’ve been in this pandemic for over a year now. It has taken over our lives and made us miss out on so much. So I would ask them, what else do they plan on missing because they don’t want the vaccine?”

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