Health officials say children play critical role in ending pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More children must get vaccinated in Shelby County in order to reach herd immunity.

That’s according to health officials who say that age group will play a critical part in ending the pandemic.

TRENDING: Doctors react to Gov. Lee’s claim that kids don’t get sick from COVID-19

The latest numbers from the health department show only about 5,000 12-to-16-year old’s have been vaccinated in Shelby County.

That’s why 16-year-old Kaleb Sy is working to come up with new ways to convince young people and their parents to get the shot.

“I just knew I wanted to do more in the community,” he said. “I know COVID19 has affected all of our lives.”

That’s why he jumped at the opportunity to be a part of Shelby County’s COVID Community Council.

He alongside a team of a couple of dozen community members from all backgrounds is helping to educate people on the virus and vaccine.

“We just dropped off some packets in south Memphis to get the word out because in that zipcode there is a lot of vaccine hesitancy,” Sy said.

TRENDING: Internal Review clears MPD officer of excessive force after pushing woman during protest

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris started up the council in April.

Since then, the group has met to discuss new ideas to beat vaccine hesitancy along with going door-to-door in areas with low vaccine uptake.

“We have nurses, young folks that are teachers, kids in school and folks who have immune systems that are vulnerable,” Harris said.

Harris said more young people must get the vaccine. That’s why he said it was important to have teenagers on the council.

“The way you encourage young folks to get vaccinated is how you talk to young folks,” he said. “They’ll talk to their parents and advocate for themselves.”

As for those like Sy, he said he’s happy to be making a difference in his community.

“I just say trust to science,” he said. “Follow your first mind, and trust the science.”

The city of Memphis also recently started up a new field team called ‘Our Best Shot’ which will go door to door in the lowest vaccine uptake neighborhoods.