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Local health leaders face new challenges as vaccine focus shifts to young adults

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PEORIA (WEEK) --- Experts say vaccine rollout remains steady amid what they are calling a "resurgence" in cases - but now, new challenges face local health leaders.

The Peoria City/County Health Department says it has seen about 270 new cases per day over the past week…

Dr. Stephen Hippler of OSF Healthcare says that data appears to trend in one particular direction.

"We are definitely seeing a younger and different demographic this time," Hippler said. "It is typically in the 25-65 year-old age group, and not confined to the inner city, as we saw much earlier in the COVID outbreaks."

In the early stages of vaccine rollout, clinics were focused on frontline healthcare workers and those at the biggest risk.

Now, Hippler says with enough doses on hand, the struggle is reaching younger people.

"What we are starting to see is those in the demographics and age group who think they are at lower risk don't have the same sense of urgency to get the vaccination," Hippler said.

Students at Bradley University are starting to get their shots.

Some believe most students are itching to receive the vaccine, while others say there is still some hesitation.

"I was nervous at first - I was nervous for my first dose and my second dose as well," Bradley freshman Emily Deischer said. "But once it happened, I'm really excited that I have it. Really excited that I was able to receive it."

"I think we should all just be mindful of people around us and take it seriously. The more we relax and the cases go up, the more restrictions will get put on us," Bradley nursing student Grace Miller said.

Dr. Hippler says those who are hesitant should consider the amount of effort and research involved.

"Just like when we aspired to land a man on the moon many years ago, the entire scientific community has come together over the last year to focus on how to get this done and get it done safely," Hippler said.

Harry Croton

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