Jefferson County, Colo. — COVID-19 vaccination rates are rising in Jefferson County, which is driving declining rates of infection overall. However, we are still seeing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, especially among those who remain unvaccinated. Younger people are less likely to have received a COVID-19 vaccine, and although most young people experience no or minor symptoms from the virus, they are also at risk of serious illness and can infect others. In an effort to help keep as many people as possible healthy and safe, this week Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) launched a new campaign to increase vaccine coverage among teens and young adults age 16-29.
In Jefferson County, young people have lower vaccination rates compared to other age groups. As of June 22, although more than 70% of all Jeffco residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, only 62.3% of those ages 16-29 have received at least one dose. This trend of lower vaccination among younger people is consistent with vaccine coverage rates in the state and nationwide. According to a report just released by the CDC, COVID-19 vaccine coverage and intent to get vaccinated is lowest among people 18-39.
“It’s concerning to see lower COVID-19 vaccination rates among young people, because it means they remain at risk for illness, hospitalizations and even death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director, Jefferson County Public Health. “Because they can also spread the virus to others, it’s important for teens and young adults to get vaccinated now — especially with highly-transmissible variants like the Delta variant circulating. Being vaccinated also enables younger people to return to doing the things they love more safely. Getting vaccinated now is also critical for uninterrupted in-person learning and sports next school year.”
The campaign, called “You Can Be The Reason,” was created based on an extensive literature review, a survey of more than 6,000 teens and young adults in Jefferson County and an input session held via Zoom with members of the target demographic.
The campaign amplifies the agency of young people to make an impact, and focuses on the benefits of vaccination as identified by those in the target age range such as protecting themselves and their loved ones from the virus, as well as returning to beloved activities like in-person learning, attending events and safely gathering with family and friends. Additionally, the campaign aims to address commonly reported barriers to getting vaccinated by offering reliable vaccine safety education as well as information on how to access a free vaccine in convenient locations across the county. The campaign is being promoted across channels where young people reported they are most likely to see and hear it, including on the radio, on websites and across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok.
“Teens and young adults have the power to help us turn a corner and recover from this pandemic, and that starts by getting a vaccine,” Comstock said. “Our hope is that this campaign will motivate more young people in Jeffco to get a vaccine as soon as possible.”
To help partners and organizations share the campaign across Jefferson County, JCPH has developed a ready-to-use communications toolkit with research-based key messages, social media posts, posters and more. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, including how to find a free, convenient vaccine location near you, visit www.jeffco.us/covid-vaccine.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.