Youth across Kern County have decided to come vaccinated against COVID-19, and some are speaking up about why they decided to receive the vaccine.
COVID-19 is still affecting a lot of people around the world and the only way to stop the spread is to get vaccinated. As of April 19, 2021 children and teens ages 12 and up can get vaccinated to help protect against COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone ages 12 and up to get vaccinated because the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh the risk of getting sick or worse.
Gurnoor Bhatti, 17-year-old senior at Cesar E. Chavez high school, said there are many reasons why she chose to get vaccinated.
“I got vaccinated so I could protect my health and the health of others,” said Bhatti. “As a community member, I heard many stories of the virus and its complications taking over so many lives, and I wanted to help prevent the spread of it, which ultimately led me towards getting vaccinated.”
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are effective because they can keep you from getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 and also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID.
Kimberly Leyva, 21-year-old senior at California State University, Bakersfield, said she got her vaccine for her school, career, and traveling.
“I did get it because of school,” she said. “I am a senior at California State University, Bakersfield, and to have access and resources this upcoming semester you have to be vaccinated to enter the campus.”
Leyva continued, “I know for my future career a lot of places will require to be vaccinated to work and I like to take every opportunity. I like to travel and I know to leave places and be out and about with less worries. It’s easier to be vaccinated and have that weight off your shoulders.”
Even though the number of cases of young people getting COVID-19 are lower, it is still possible for them to get infected and develop severe illness.
The CDC states that while fewer children and teens have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children and teens can be infected with the virus and can spread the virus to others.
Some children or teens can get severely ill from COVID-19 and they might require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. In rare cases, they could die.
Alyssa Pacheco, 20-year-old senior at CSUB, said she got the vaccine because it affected someone close to her.
“One reason I got vaccinated is because my grandma had gotten COVID when it first began and it scared me to think of the thought of losing her. After she got through her experience, I knew it was my turn to get vaccinated as well, not only for her health but for the health of those around me as well,” said Pacheco.
Kern County Public Health Services Director Brynn Carrigan made a public service announcement urging young people to get vaccinated. This PSA will soon be shown in movie theaters and on television. She also said because a lot of young people are going back to school, she thinks vaccinations in this group will grow.
“It’ll be nice to get COVID behind us and vaccination is really key to completely moving on from COVID,” Carrigan said.
Angelica Barrios, 17-year-old, said that she got her vaccine in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep herself and others safe.
Kern County Public Health officials state that there have been a total of 112,318 COVID-19 cases in Kern County and therefore it is important to still wear your mask to protect yourself and others.
To schedule an appointment to get your vaccine go to MYTURN.CA.GOV.