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Clark County urges young people to pick up pace for vaccination

Clark County has previously launched campaigns to boost vaccination numbers within specific populations but, as stringent pandemic-era restrictions continue to ease, it has set its sights on a new group: Young people.

Fewer than 30 percent of county residents under the age of 30 have received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of April 28, according to the most recent data from the Southern Nevada Health District.

Meanwhile, about 80 percent of seniors 70 years and older, who have been eligible longer for immunization in Nevada, have gotten at least one dose, the data shows.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for those that are 30 or under to really help this community get back up and running,” Commissioner Michael Naft said during a Tuesday evening #GetVaxxedNV event broadcast live on social media.

Prompted by lagging immunization numbers among young people, the event served as a direct appeal to those 16 to 25 years old, who have been eligible to get a shot since a month ago, and sought to address misinformation circulating online about the readily available vaccine.

“Right now we’re in a battle between fact versus fiction,” Commissioner William McCurdy II said.

In countering some of the more common myths about the vaccine, Dr. Cortland Lohff, chief medical officer for the health district, assured that a recipient cannot get the virus from a shot and warned against risking infection simply because a person is young with no underlying health conditions.

While it is true that COVID-19 is most harmful to older people who are medically vulnerable, the virus is also unpredictable and young people have died or become seriously ill after being infected, he said.

Full reopening tied to vaccination rate

After initiating vaccination campaigns to reach Hispanic and Black residents, the county’s latest push comes as it has tied a proposed full reopening on June 1 to meeting an immunization threshold.

Once 60 percent of eligible residents have received at least one shot, the county plans to entirely lift occupancy limits and social distancing requirements, aligning with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s full capacity goal.

That figure stood just under 50 percent on Tuesday, according to Lohff.

“If you know some people who think, ‘oh, it’s the wrong thing to do politically, tell them, ‘no, it’s the patriotic thing to do,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev. “If we don’t get that shot in the arm, our economy and our community won’t get a shot in the arm.”

Athletes back messaging

Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Isaiah Johnson, one of three athletes brought on by the county to be a panelist Tuesday, echoed the messaging that vaccination was the best way forward to getting back to normal life.

In particular, Johnson painted a vision of Allegiant Stadium being filled with 65,000 fans.

“I, for one, will say that will be one of the most amazing sights Las Vegas has ever seen,” he said.

Former Raiders linebacker Jerry Robinson, 64, and UNLV women’s soccer freshman forward Nailah Harpring also joined the panel, advocating for vaccination and drawing on their perspectives as part of older and younger age groups.

“If you don’t believe me, believe them,” Titus said prior to the panelists speaking.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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