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Cornell College President wants young adults to get Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 8:04 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The President of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Johnathan Brand wants to get vaccine needles into the arms of young people faster. With the Johnson and Johnson vaccine getting closer to approval, he says that specific one might be the better fit for young adults.

A recent study out of London shows adults between 20 and 49 could be the biggest spreaders of COVID-19. Brand says it’s not because young people are irresponsible

“This is an age group that moves around or relocates a lot,” he said. “2, it’s worth noting that this is the group that is highly likely to live in a group or congregate setting.”

He wants young people aged 18-29, including college students to get the single-shot Johnson and Johnson, once the FDA approves it. This age group is less likely to get sick and die from the virus, and currently can’t get vaccinated in Iowa, but the Brand says creating immunity among young adults would benefit the broader society, and leave the more effective Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for those who are high risk.

“I think we need to be on the defensive more,” he said. “I think we need to attack this virus from multiple directions.”

University of Iowa’s Dean of Public Health Edith Parker says the priority groups should get all available shots first. “As a college administrator I wish I could be supportive of it,” she said.

While all developed vaccines prevent severe illness, it’s unclear if they stop transmission. “Here’s an age group (young adults) that has not always followed our best practices of mask wearing and social distancing,” said Parker. “So if it doesn’t stop transmission, are we giving them more of an idea that they can move about freely.”

But from the perspective of Brand, having vaccine clinics on campus would work. He says there would still be Johnson & Johnson vaccines available for priority groups with his plan. Brand open to ideas on how to reach herd immunity the fastest. One thing all can agree on, defeating the pandemic.

“It comes down to getting as many shots into as many arms as quickly as is possible,” Brand added.

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