Three young adults explain why they are not getting a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

Posted Monday, May 2, 2022 at 5:12 a.m. EDT

Last updated Monday, May 2, 2022 at 5:12 a.m. EDT

Banin Hassan says there is only one reason she would consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine to boost her first two doses.

“If they make it mandatory and restrict my life’s activities or travel again, I would consider it because I love to travel,” says the 27-year-old Hamilton-based consultant.

“Other than that, nothing could make me change my mind.”

Canadian government data shows that young adults lag behind other age groups. About 35% of people aged 18 to 29 received a third dose. This rises to 42% for those aged 30 to 39. On average, 72% of Canadians aged 40 and over have received theirs.

A Calgary doctor who has studied vaccine hesitancy says he’s not surprised young adults are falling behind.

“Even before the booster, with the second and first doses, we saw much lower uptake in the 25-year-old group compared to the over-65 community,” says Dr. Jia Hu, who leads a group who advises on how to increase absorption.

Hu is the CEO of 19 to Zero, made up of doctors, nurses, economists and other experts, which aim to help governments, businesses and communities across Canada build confidence in vaccines.

“One thing that allowed us to get higher vaccination rates in the 30 range was the vaccination mandates, because I don’t think there’s any hesitation in that population (about the shots themselves- same),” Hu said. “In this age group, people are less concerned about COVID causing serious illness. Warrants allow them to relive life.

Hassan’s partner, Humam Yahya, 28, recognizes the benefits of vaccines in reducing serious illnesses, but questions the need to continue getting vaccinated.

“You just get a reminder every eight months or 10 months and there’s no end date,” he says. “You just take these vaccines…and I’m sure they have great benefits, but we don’t know the long-term side effects either.”

He says he was initially afraid of contracting COVID-19 because he has asthma.

“I took shelter a lot. But then a lot of my friends who got COVID, their side effects and what they got was far from what I thought it would be, so I lost a lot of fear there.

Hassan adds that some distant family members died early in the pandemic. More recently, she observed close family members and friends who had COVID-19, but with mild symptoms.

“My father has kidney failure and is on his fourth dose. I completely understand that he needs to do it because his health is a little more compromised. I would even encourage him to keep getting it. For me, I don’t find COVID to be a high risk at this point,” Hassan says.

She and Yahya say some friends, especially women, have had bad reactions to the vaccine, so the couple are wary of too high doses.

Liza Samadi, 25, a pharmacy assistant in Hamilton, says she didn’t opt ​​for a booster because it’s not mandatory.

“I was really lazy,” she laughs.

“I just kept delaying, but I ended up having COVID (in January), so I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’m pretty boosted right now, so I haven’t need to get it.

Samadi says his whole family has had COVID-19, so they’re in no rush to get boosted, but they would go for a third shot if it becomes mandatory.

Hu says he “strongly, strongly, strongly” recommends that all Canadians get a boost because the protection from two doses wears off after about six months “and the booster takes you right back.”

He says that even if the booster intake among young adults is too low, he doesn’t think 18- to 29-year-olds with COVID-19 will overwhelm hospitals.

But he adds: ‘Do I think some 25-year-olds could still be hospitalized and die? he says.

“Yeah, I do.”

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