Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Health and Human Services (HHS) Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris announced today that the City of Springfield will establish a COVID-19 Youth Council as part of the very successful Vax Force. The COVID-19 Youth Council will serve as a subcommittee of the Vax Force Committee and will focus on providing information and education on the COVID-19 vaccine to their peers – ages 35 and under.
The Vax Force has been successful in providing vaccine information and outreach to residents, churches and the business community through a variety of venues and events.
However, as COVID-19 cases continue to trend upwards, it is important to reach out to those who are not yet vaccinated, especially to our younger population – age 35 and under. Of the 374 positive cases reported for the week of August 8, 2021, more than half (55%) are age 30 and under. It is also important for our younger population to get vaccinated as only 40% of residents 16-19 and 38% of residents age 20-29 are vaccinated. Compared to 83% of residents age 50-64; 90% of residents age 65-74; and 83% of residents over 75 years old being vaccinated.
Mayor Sarno states, “I want to commend Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris for her continued and unyielding leadership throughout this COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Our Springfield Vax Force has been instrumental in providing outreach and education to help debunk and dispel myths and false information about the vaccine. This COVID-19 Youth Council will now provide that vital outreach and education specifically to our younger population. I am grateful to the members of the Vax Force Committee and to the Youth Council who have agreed to serve. It is so important for everyone of all ages to get vaccinated. Conspiracy theories never solved any medical challenge, vaccines do.”
HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris stated, “I want to acknowledge and thank the continued leadership of Mayor Sarno and our Vax Force members. As we continue to work with Superintendent Dan Warwick and Springfield Public Schools Nursing Director Jeanne Clancy to prepare our schools for our students, teachers and staff to return to in-person learning, it is paramount that we provide the same level of outreach and education to our student and younger populations that our Vax Force did for our residents, churches, and business community. The COVID-19 Youth Council will be made up of a diverse group of young individuals who will work with our dedicated Vax Force and City team to continue to provide correct and factual information and help dispel myths and misinformation on the vaccine.”
Additional information on the COVID-19 Youth Council will be announced in the near future.