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On Wednesday, President Biden had lunch with Democratic senators, hosted governors and mayors for a roundtable on infrastructure and also — hanging out with Olivia Rodrigo, the 18-year-old pop star beloved by General Z.
Rodrygo, who currently owns the number one album in the country and whose song “Driving License” has been the number one hit on the radio for months, has been recorded. PSA Videos With Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci and they appeared in the White House briefing room to promote coronavirus vaccines.
Her visit highlights one of the obstacles to vaccinating more Americans today. just around 46 percent of people ages 18 to 24 have had at least one injection of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This compares to nearly 70 percent of all adults in the United States. Many young people are in no hurry to roll up their sleeves.
This spurs public health officials and the White House to experiment with new strategies to reach them as the delta variable spreads. And in some places, young people are taking the lead themselves, trying to reach out to their peers.
At Texas A&M University, James Lifton and Arham Omran arrived on campus for their first in-person class last spring. They transferred students and didn’t know many people yet. When the two of them ended up queuing to eat at Panda Express, they started chatting. The pair became fast friends.
“I’m a political science major,” Lifton says. “It’s an STEM major. And one of the things we like to do is, we like to argue about political issues. We were just talking, like, a vaccine, is it worth it?”
In Texas, Lifton wanted to get vaccinated right away. He was worried about spreading the virus to his parents. But Imran was hesitant. He wondered if the shots were developed too quickly. Then, when Lifton got the shot, Imran was surprised at how sick his friend was.
“I had to bring him Gatorade and his lunch, and I didn’t really want to sleep for two to three days,” says Imran. “Covid hasn’t really affected a lot of people my age, so I didn’t feel any sense of urgency to get it.”
Jordan Trallins, an up-and-coming student at Cornell University, is trying to help her generation catch up.
It started Covid Campus Alliance, now on nearly 30 college campuses, to help promote social distancing and the wearing of masks. Recently, the coalition has focused on promoting vaccines. Tralin says it’s important to meet young people wherever they are — and let them take the lead in spreading good information about vaccines to their peers. Tralins says the White House has been slow to embrace this approach early on.
Courtesy of Jordan Tralins
“People of my generation don’t spend their spare time sifting through the scientific literature to try to formulate opinions about scientific matters,” she says. “We really look at what’s on our social media and that affects the way we think.”
Scrolling through Instagram and TikTok, Tralins noticed that the feeds are full of misinformation. Some Gen Z TikTok users have massive reach – pumping out videos to tens of thousands of followers.
One reason that appears so often, without any evidence, is that vaccines cause sterility. Again, this is not true. On TikTok, Tralins knocks legends Like this and it explains how to make shots with funny and straightforward videos.
The reach of Tralins’ private account isn’t huge, but the hope is that with classes popping up on other campuses, people will share videos and infographics on their own accounts, so young people are listening to people they know and trust in private communities.
“My generation is not as selfish as we are painted,” she says. “I just think some young people have been misled during this process.”
Tralins says young people’s enthusiasm for vaccines varies greatly by geography. In Cornell, where Tralins goes to school, the college owns authorized Fall Vaccines Students quickly lined up for shots.
At other universities, especially in the South where student bodies are more ideologically divided, it has been more difficult. Many of the most prolific TikTokers are spreading misinformation about vaccines promoting their conservative bases and supporting former President Trump.
Reaching young people who are not in college or in rural areas is another obstacle. That’s why Tralins says social media can be a powerful tool.
The White House may be on its way to catching up. Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci started show On TikTok, he appears in interviews with Gen Z TikTok stars like Mia Finney who has millions of followers. The administration also launched a Campus Vaccine Challenge He demanded the COVID Corps, among other efforts.
Thank you for visiting, Olivia, and for using your voice to urge young people to get vaccinated. If we all do our part and get the COVID-19 vaccine, we can defeat this virus once and for all. Let’s do it. pic.twitter.com/ovn12CUjLu
– President Biden (POTUS) July 15 2021
It’s hard work.
a a study A publication this week from the University of California at San Francisco found that one in four unvaccinated people between the ages of 18 and 25 said they “probably won’t” or “definitely won’t” get the vaccine.
in Washington DC, Only 30% of young people They are vaccinated and the disparity between affluent, white, working-class, and black and brown neighborhoods is still enormous.
“For many of them they know family members who have passed away from this virus, but still somehow believe they are immune to the virus,” says City Councilman Christina Henderson. “So we still have a lot of work to do.”
The District of Columbia recently set up high school vaccination clinics graduation, but they weren’t hurt.
Henderson says incentives like gift cards only do so much, but he wonders if helping out with a college education might work. She understands the importance of who is delivering the presentation, too.
“Maybe you or I or President Biden are not the best messenger for this group of people, so what are the other trusted messengers that we get out there who can have real conversations with young people?”
In Louisiana, state health official Joseph Kanter said indecision among young people worries him. It’s one factor putting pressure on the state Low vaccination rate. But in focus groups, Kanter could hear something that gave him hope.
“Usually the answer to people who haven’t been vaccinated yet is, yeah I’ll probably get vaccinated at some point, I’m not there yet.”
That’s why James Lifton is still working on his friend Arham Omran.
“My best argument is that you do it not just for yourself, but do it for those around you,” Lifton says. “Because I think we can all agree that we want to go back to where we can shake hands with people, hug our family and hang out with our friends.”
Imran weighs the decision carefully. He might get the shot before fall starts. For now, he’s still on the fence.