Former President Barack Obama is joining in the Biden administration’s fight against vaccine hesitancy by urging young people to get vaccinated.
In a new PSA that first appeared on the Yahoo News TikTok account Friday, Obama touted the safety of the country’s COVID-19 vaccines, which are now available to every American over the age of 16.
“I want to talk about you getting yours,” Obama says in the 35-second video on TikTok, the social media platform that has taken off among younger people. “It’s safe. It’s effective. It’s free. I got one. Michelle got one. And you can get one too.”
“It’s the only way we’re going to get back to all the things we love,” the former president continues, “from safely spending time with grandparents, to going to concerts and watching live sports.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, or about 30 percent of the total U.S. population and 68 percent of those over the age of 65.
The rollout of the U.S. vaccine program initially targeted older Americans, who are more vulnerable to severe symptoms of COVID-19. But now the focus has turned to young adults, all of whom became eligible for the vaccine earlier this month.
And there appears to be just as much vaccine hesitancy among Generation Z as there was among other age groups.
A recent Stat-Harris poll found that 21 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 were not willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Another 34 percent said they would “wait awhile and see” before getting vaccinated.
Another study, conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, found that although most of the 14- to 24-year-olds they polled were willing to get the vaccine, about 20 percent were unwilling to do so.
Laura Ramirez-Feldman contributed reporting to this story.
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