TAMPA, Fla.— — Since early April, all adults in Florida have been eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Still today, studies are taking a close look at who may be holding out from rolling up their sleeve.
“The quicker we all get vaccinated, the quicker life is really going to return completely to normal,” said Distinguished USF Health professor Dr. Thomas Unnasch.
Earlier this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation released an analysis based on data from its ongoing research project.
It found unvaccinated adults are significantly younger, with 29% of those in the group falling in the 18 to 29-year-old range and 41% in the 30 to 49-year-old range. That’s compared to 20% of those in the unvaccinated group in the 50 to 64-year-old range and 9% 65 and up.
ABC Action News asked Dr. Unnasch about the data for the younger age groups.
“I think that fallacy is, ‘Oh, COVID is not really that bad for us. If you look at the mortality numbers, people in my age group really aren’t dying from this thing, so I’m just going to take my chances because chances are if I get it, I’m not going to die, and I don’t really know about this vaccine,” said Unnasch.
But Unnasch says that doesn’t consider the quality of life.
“A large percentage of these people who are getting this in these younger age groups are having long-term effects that are associated with the disease. Inability to smell or taste,” said Unnasch. “A lot of people are getting brain fog. If you’re in a career that requires you to think carefully, and all of a sudden, your brain’s not working very well anymore, how’s that going to affect your job and your job prospects?”
The CDC reminds people the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Unnasch explains it’s still important to get your shot to protect yourself and the community.
“If you get COVID, you could end up with some really bad, long-lasting side effects from the infection that are going to make your life miserable for the next year at least. Why take that chance?” said Dr. Unnasch.