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In-Depth: Young adults trail older age groups in COVID-19 vaccination rates

COVID-19 vaccination card
Posted at 7:11 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 20:11:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Data shows young adults in the Kansas City-area are lagging behind older generations when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Age groups 18-24 and 25-34 have vaccination rates around 30%, the lowest among adults in Wyandotte County.

"We are currently conducting focus groups with people who have not been vaccinated and who are either undecided or do not want the vaccine, to help us better understand vaccine hesitancy in our county," a Wyandotte health department spokesperson wrote in an email to 41 Action News.

Similarly, in Kansas City, Missouri, just 32% of residents ages 18 to 24 have been vaccinated. For older adults, the rates vary from 45% to 99%.


Both the public and private sectors are rolling out incentives to change the numbers.

For example, in Kansas, a vaccine card could be a lucky ticket.

"We are working with the lottery commission to put together a lottery that will be the right size for the state of Kansas and serve as a real stimulus," Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said.

That approach generated excitement in Ohio, where a 22-year-old woman won $1 million in the first drawing for the state's Vax-a-Million lottery.

CVS also announced a sweepstakes for people ages 18 and up who have been vaccinated or plan to do so through the pharmacy chain.

The prizes include cash, cruises, coupons and trips to the Super Bowl and the 2022 NCAA Final Four.

As some entities incentive vaccines, others are requiring them.

The Chronicle of Higher Education compiled a list of more than 400 colleges requiring vaccines for staff and or students.

There are no Kansas schools on the list, but Washington University in St. Louis is included.

William Jewell College also recently made the decision to require vaccines.

"Ultimately, we think the science is clear," Eric Blair, Vice President of Enrollment & Marketing, said.

Their goal is to achieve "micro herd immunity" on campus.

According to Blair, a large group of students called for the mandate.

"The population that we have really values their safety and really getting back to that true Jewell experience," he said.

The school will accept exemptions for medical conditions and personal or religious beliefs.