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SHREVEPORT, La. -- The entire adult population of the U. S. is now able to get a COVID-19 vaccination. But many remain hesitant to get the shot.

Some people have taken a wait-and-see attitude about the vaccine, not understanding or agreeing with the urgency. This is especially true for young adults. They wonder, what’s the rush?

Healthcare officials say the rush is about getting to herd immunity, or the point where enough people are immune so the virus has nowhere to go and can no longer spread. The longer the virus spreads, the more chances it has to mutate into variants that are unaffected by current vaccines and treatments.

Dr. John Vanchiere, the lead investigator on the Pfizer vaccine study at LSU Health Shreveport who has led communitywide vaccination efforts, said the current vaccines can stop the spread of COVID-19 now.

“The vaccine is effective at several things. Number one, reducing people from getting sick from COVID and spreading it to other people. So, it protects us. And it helps us protect the ones we love,” he said. “Big time important is that vaccination reduces hospitalization and death.”

If people are not concerned about their own health, they should consider getting the vaccine to help others, he said

“Part of this is about personal responsibility for our own health, as well as responsibility for those we love and our neighbors who may not be able to protect themselves,” said Vanchiere. “We’ve got a lot of people who are immune compromised or at higher risk that the vaccines may be less effective in because of that.”

Experts estimate that 70% to 90% of the total population needs to have resistance to the coronavirus to reach herd immunity.

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