Vaccine distribution in North Carolina is moving along at a steady pace. As of March 22, 14.1 percent of the state’s total population has been fully vaccinated.
North Carolina entered Group 4 of vaccine distribution on March 17 for people with high-risk medical conditions. On April 7, the rest of Group 4 will open. This includes faculty, staff and student employees not yet vaccinated, as well as students living in congregate housing both on and off-campus.
The University also announced last week that it would open a vaccination clinic on campus, so it may become easier for students to get vaccinated in the coming weeks and months. While students will not be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it is strongly encouraged.
But "vaccine guilt" is making some young people are hesitant to get the vaccine, thinking they should give up their spot to make room for others instead.
If you are eligible for the vaccine, you should get it — even if you think you don’t deserve it as much as someone else. There’s no reason to believe that if you forgo the vaccine, it will go to someone who is at higher risk. In fact, it may result in a wasted dose.
And while younger people generally may not be as vulnerable to COVID-19, we are more likely to spread it to others. Data show that adults aged 20 to 49 were responsible for the vast majority of COVID-19 transmission last year, with those aged 20 to 34 contributing to 34.7 percent of virus transmission.
Colleges and universities, in particular, have become hot spots for virus transmission — and campus outbreaks are often directly connected with infection peaks in surrounding towns and counties.
So by getting vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself — you’re protecting the people around you, too.
Experts have estimated that 70 to 90 percent of the population must be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity is the point at which enough people are immune to a virus that it no longer easily spreads through a population. But this is only possible if everyone does their part.