The ’16 and older’ age group plays an important role in getting the population vaccinated


RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — While the vaccine has opened up to everyone 16 and older in South Dakota, some recent numbers show the youngest age group is hesitant of getting the shot.

Dr. Shankar Kurra with Monument Health says people have no reason to fear the COVID-19 vaccines.

“All three vaccines are okay for all age groups above age 16. The good news is all three vaccines have very good safety profiles and are very effective in preventing severe disease,” Dr. Kurra said.

Dr. Kurra says the Monument Health numbers show that the youngest group eligible to get the vaccine have the least percentage of people who decide to get the shot.

“Ages 50 and above are more likely to get it. They are anywhere from 60 to 80-percent vaccinated. Those from 30 to 50 are less than 50-percent vaccinated. And that hesitancy could be for several reasons,” Dr. Kurra said.

Dr. Kurra says some female patients are concerned about being able to become pregnant after getting the vaccine.

“But the reality is, the evidence and the data after 6-hundred-million vaccines worldwide and about 180 million vaccines in the United States, there is no evidence to show any injury or harm either to reproduction or fertility, and I think that’s the biggest question,” Dr. Kurra said.

Dr. Kurra also says some younger people believe that because of their age, they are healthy and do not need the vaccine.

“Young people have health in their favor but you can ruin it by getting COVID-19. We know the long haul syndrome, where people get long-term affects. If you want to preserve the health you have today, it’s very important that you get registered to get your vaccinations, it’s a shot that saves lives,” Dr. Kurra said.

Monument Health reminds everyone that we need about 80-percent of the population to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. According to the state health department, more than 32-percent of South Dakotans have completed their vaccinations.

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