(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) High School juniors and seniors are starting to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine, a moment health officials in St. Joseph have been anticipating.
"So now, I want to see the younger population coming in especially if those are who are the ones becoming ill," said Connie Werner of the St. Joseph Health Department."
Younger individuals are slowly but surely finding their way to vaccination sites to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
One teen said, "It's been a while since I've seen my grandparents and we (family) decided we should all get it for them so that they'll be healthy." Branson Snyder added, "At first I was like, 'I don't really want to get it.' Then, I thought, 'oh, my grandparents need it for their health.'"
Another teen, Richard Millis, saying there was no hesitation to get vaccinated "No I didn't'. I just--just when they said you go get it, go get it. So, that's what I did."
According to local health officials, new cases of coronavirus have been steadily rising over the past two weeks, with the biggest spike in virus cases reported in young adults between the ages of 20 and 29 years old. But for teens like Branson and Millis, they were not worried.
"It was okay. You can't really feel anything. You're just--arm gets numb; that's it," said Branson. "Yeah, I like the clinic. We're using something that's closed so that's good. I think we should do more of that; using stuff that's not open and use it. That's just me," added Richard.
The St. Joseph Health Department hosted a vaccination clinic Monday at Civic Arena, with only 61 people receiving the vaccine. Staff want to continue administering covid clinics but they say they've seen demand for the vaccine drop off.
"As long as we have the Civic Arena's participation--and we do for a few weeks," said Werner. "So what we just need, is we need people to sign up for them. We need there to be a demand for it. So yes, as long as we have people signing up, we will continue to offer those first dose rounds through a certain date, and then we'll finish up with those second dose rounds."
Currently, only 19% of the county's population has received at least one shot of the vaccine, and 15% of the county is fully vaccinated.
The health department will hold another vaccine clinic on Tuesday, May 11. To register, click here.