Vaccine bus aims to boost immunization uptake among young adults at U of C

An effort to get more young adults fully immunized against COVID-19 rolled onto the University of Calgary campus Wednesday.

Staff at the mobile vaccination bus hope to make it easier to get the shot for the 20 to 29 year old demographic, the age range that has the lowest vaccine uptake in Alberta.

Although young adults currently make up the largest share of active cases in the province, many haven't made getting immunized a priority, experts say.

"It could be lack of transportation, work schedule and appointments don't line up with the work schedule. Sometimes, it's pure laziness," said 19 to Zero community outreach manager Margaret Pateman.

While there are vaccine procrastinators, Pateman also says there are still many people who are vaccine hesitant.

"It's difficult because there's so much misinformation online, so we really try hard to get that correct data and that correct information in the right hands," she said.

Nearly 70 per cent of eligible Albertans are fully immunized against COVID-19, but barely 56 per cent of people between 20 and 29 years old have received both doses.

"For me, at least, the hesitancy comes from the Moderna vaccine and its, like, complications with... I think it's with clogging the arteries," said Michael Wang, a University of Calgary student who has not received his COVID-19 vaccine.

"But in general, I would say that I would be open to getting the vaccine as long as I get more clear indicators that they're more safe.”

The university is not mandating COVID-19 vaccines, but people who are unwilling or unable to be immunized must take rapid tests twice every week on campus.

The bus is also an option for international students to get the vaccine.

"I feel much safer for other people, because my roommate is actually a severe asthmatic and she already has her vaccine and I do not, so if I got (COVID-19), it would be really bad for her," said Reese Williams, a student who received her first dose on Wednesday.

She says the vaccine isn't easily accessible in Thailand, where she was previously going to school.

"It's super convenient (in Calgary). I live right there, so I just walked out of my building and I'm here.”