State health officials urge young Ohioans to get vaccinated as COVID variants continue emerging


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — Governor Mike DeWine expressed concern about the dangers of new COVID-19 variants during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, especially the threat they pose to younger Ohioans.

The state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard indicates that less than 30 percent of Ohioans between the ages of 20 and 29 have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Fewer still, less than 15 percent, have received both doses.

“Unvaccinated Ohioans lack the same protection against this virus as those who are vaccinated. The virus is now in more contagious forms that put younger people at much greater risk, including the risk of ending up in the hospital,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer with the Ohio Department of Health.

Vanderhoff warns that new variants have evolved so that less virus and less exposure can get you just as sick. With older Ohioans largely being vaccinated, younger people become more vulnerable to exposure.

With May fast approaching, 38 percent of Ohioans, more than 4.4 million people, have received their first shot. This hasn’t prevented cases from rising, however, the governor said they seem to be plateauing again.

“Just because the numbers are getting better and more people are getting vaccinated, the virus is now more dangerous than it was a few months ago for those who haven’t been vaccinated,” said DeWine. 

The governor said that one of the key things moving forward is getting people under 50 vaccinated, so that eventually we can reach something closer herd immunity.

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