Their future is our future
Last week, many of us in the Las Vegas Valley saw news of the stark reality: Younger Nevadans are hesitant to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Because of this, infection rates among younger adults and the unvaccinated older age groups they are interacting with are getting significantly higher -- creating the increase of hotspots that we’re seeing today across Southern Nevada.
It’s no secret that Southern Nevada needs to get more people vaccinated to stop the continued spread of COVID, and its variants.
As fathers, we understand that younger generations want to socialize and be with their friends. We saw that throughout the height of the pandemic, young people wanted to go to parties, go to concerts, enjoy conversations with their besties at coffee shops, go on hikes, head back to the movie theaters, and walk around malls like North or South Premium Outlets in a safe manner.
Under societal assumptions, young people have the ability and access to a multitude of information in the modern age. Gen Z’ers and younger millennials have access to a variety of social media platforms: Tumblr, Reddit, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and so much more. In the classroom, students have access to information through iPads, take-home laptop computers, and updated curriculum.
Which leads us to ask the million dollar question: How do we get more of them vaccinated?
That’s why we’re turning to engaged, young experts living in the Vegas Valley to lead. They know what is best to get their peers vaccinated.
Popular influencers, young professionals in respective industries (government, non-profit, corporate, and small business) across Southern Nevada, and young healthcare professionals in the Las Vegas Medical District will lead the charge to getting us closer to getting 116,000 young persons vaccinated. Last week, we helped them launch the Youth For Youth Vaccination Initiative, with Clark County, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), and the City of Las Vegas.
Young people and health experts from SNHD will be at the forefront of the work. Evidence-based, strategic, and intentional strategies to get more young people vaccinated will be the key effort in getting them vaccinated. Most importantly, it’s trusted young Nevadans and young health professionals that are well-regarded by their peers that have the ability to have tough conversations with each other to move the needle forward in vaccinating nearly 116,000 unvaccinated youth in the Las Vegas Valley.
You know what they say: The children are our future. We need them vaccinated, prepared, and ready to combat current and future variants of the COVID-19 virus to bring their dreams into the great realities that will change our communities for the better.
Brian Knudsen is a member of the Las Vegas City Council, chair of the Southern Nevada Health District Community Health Center and chair of the Las Vegas Medical District. Michael Naft is a member of the Clark County Commission.