DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– Governor DeWine’s Vax-2-School scholarship opportunity for students 12-to-25 years old is meant to encourage more young students to get vaccinated. However, some health leaders say they anticipate only a few young Ohioans may decide to get their shot.
It’s an incentive that will award 55 students across the state with thousands of dollars of scholarship money. Even if the vaccination rate increases by single digits, health leaders anticipate it could ripple effect through the pandemic.
“These kids as you noted can feel safer in school playing in sports and participating in extracurricular activities because they have that added layer of protection that not only prevents them from getting sick but also avoid quarantine,” said ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.
The state’s health leaders hope the Vax-2-School initiative will keep more students in the classrooms and out of virtual environments. Miami Valley health experts say they anticipate any vaccine incentive to change some people’s minds who are still on the fence.
“If it’s 8-10 percent, if it changes that much, it can have a huge impact on the overall covid fight in general,” said Premier Health Regional Medical Director Dr. Joseph Allen. “I think it will have an impact. It may be small in the numbers but the ramification and the ripples of that throughout covid will be felt by many many age groups.”
Since the age range is so small, the impact may be relatively low as well. However health experts say don’t let that number fool you. The Vax-2-School initiative is aimed at increasing vaccination rates among 12-25 year olds, the lowest rate out of all age groups.
“The impact of it will be relatively small in terms of numbers, you know I don’t think 80-percent of that age group will go out and get the shot because of an incentive,” said Dr. Allen.
At this time, the coronavirus dashboard shows barely over half of the state has started the vaccination process.