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Calgary 18 to 25-year-olds ready to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine

Twenty-three-year-old Calgarian Angelina Douvis said she was determined to lock in her COVID-19 vaccine appointment the day she was eligible.

On May 5, the province announced that it would be expanding the vaccination age range. People born before 1991 could start booking on May 7, and for those born before 2009, May 10.

Douvis believes the announcement has still managed to spark eagerness in some younger people.

“I don’t think we’ll necessarily jump back to the life we had pre-pandemic, but we can at least stop putting people at risk,” Douvis said.

“I don’t want to be too optimistic and say, ‘we are rounding the bend,’ but I feel that we are late getting to this point. It has taken quite a long time for vaccines to roll out, so I’m happy it is finally happening.”

Douvis feels that it is imperative for younger people to get the vaccine as soon as they can. Especially considering that younger demographics tend to have more social contact.

Possible return to university

It also adds a ray of hope for those students wishing to return back to the brick and mortar university setting.

Katelyn Son, a University of Calgary student, expressed relief at the thought of this aggressive vaccination roll out. It could help ensure a return to in-person classes next fall semester. Even if that return is partial.

“I’m a bit biased because I am a university student. I know it has been tough for a lot of students,” Son said.

For many students, it was welcome news to hear the government optimistic about the fall return. But without this latest announcement, nobody was sure if students would get to go back, Son said.

“Now that they’ve announced this vaccination plan, it’s looking brighter for university students, we have hope that we’ll be going back,” she said.

Concerns with the roll out

With these new waves of vaccination rollout, there’s a massive increase in the number of people who are looking to get vaccinated.

Natasha Kornak is a student at the School of Public Policy and points to some developments, which should ease those who worry about getting their second dose.

“We are seeing some studies being conducted around mixing different brands of vaccine. If there was an issue with one supplier, this may be a road that could be explored. Having different combinations of vaccine brands,” Kornak said.

This is represented by a U.K study called Com-COV2. It is exploring what happens when a booster shot is different from the first shot of vaccine. There is expressed interest in this, as two vaccines – Pfizer and AstraZeneca, for instance – work in two different ways. This means two different ways to protect the body.

As for younger demographics who are hesitant because they don’t want older people to go without a vaccine, Kornak said they shouldn’t be worried.

“Young people shouldn’t be worried about waiting. Our public health officials have put a real prioritization on protecting the most vulnerable during this pandemic. As seen when looking at vaccination rates, seniors are being vaccinated in large numbers. I think those who are most vulnerable have been taken care of,” Kornak said.

This is also considering that younger demographics may be more inclined to social interactions. Based on provincial data, more younger people are getting sick. Those who previously thought the virus wouldn’t affect them are facing more hazardous outcomes. The average age right now for non-hospitalized COVID cases is 35 years old.

Not a free pass

These trends are encouraging engagement among people aged 18 to 25. While some are glad to be doing their part and getting vaccinated, this doesn’t necessarily change their views on the province’s situation.

The May 5 announcement still comes right on the heels of the restrictions promised on May 4. This puts a sobering reminder amongst the hope of younger demographics.

Douvis is encouraged by the province’s decision, but this doesn’t change her outlook on the situation as a whole.

“The restrictions aren’t as stringent as they need to be. It’s disappointing,” Douvis said.

“I don’t think the push for everyone to get their vaccine will necessarily help us get out of this any sooner. There will still be cases, and resuming a pre-pandemic state after vaccinations will take a long time.”

Biding their time

The anticipated deluge of people trying to book their vaccine appointments on Monday is giving some individuals pause.

Twenty-one-year-old Naomi Phung said she’s waiting several days after the initial start date. This way, she can avoid the expected rush, even if that means it may push her appointment back.

“It’s affecting my decision to book right away. For me personally, I’m an impatient person, I can’t wait for long periods of time,” said Phung.

As the May 10 date rolls up, millennials and those above the age of 30 started rolling up their sleeves as bookings for those born before 1991 were made available.

As of May 5, 1,732,582, doses of the vaccine have been administered.