Local students share why they decided to get COVID-19 vaccine now

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As the number of local COVID-19 cases continues to rise, vaccination rates are slowing down. Monroe County is in the red zone with a high level of COVID-19 transmission, according to the CDC, and in the last week, the Finger Lakes region has had the lowest number of new vaccinations to date.

About 2,000 new people got at least one dose of the vaccine between Aug. 8 and Aug. 14. That’s about half the number of new people who got the shot two weeks ago, according to the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub. Before this past week, the lowest number of new vaccine doses was about 2,700 given between June 27 and July 3.

News10NBC visited a vaccination clinic at the Edgerton R-Center on Backus in Rochester on Sunday to see what made people decide to get the shot now.

Matthew Growth, 14, got his first dose of Pfizer.

"A lot of my friends have gotten the vaccine, and they’ve said it was good, easy," Growth said. "So, I’ve kind of branched off of what they’ve done and thought it was a good idea."

Growth is now part of the 73% of people age 12 and older in Monroe County who have gotten at least one dose.

"It’s gonna make me feel secure," Growth said.

Parents like Growth’s mom, Bridget McClary, say the upcoming school year greatly impacted her decision to get her son vaccinated.

"I want Matthew safe," McClary said. "I work in the health care field, and you hear about it all day long and so I just knew this was the right thing for Matthew."

School was a big reason why Tyler Schaad, a rising sophomore at the University of Rochester, decided to get the shot today as well. At the U of R, the vaccine is a requirement for students.

"We have to be either fully vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption in order to be on campus," Schaad said.

When asked why he waited until now, Schaad said he’s been living alone all summer and hasn’t come in contact with too many vulnerable people. He also wanted to avoid getting sick from vaccine side effects, and he already had COVID-19.

"I had COVID in March so I wasn’t… I had essentially no symptoms, so I was not… I wasn’t really too worried about COVID," Schaad said.

For a list of vaccination clinics in the Finger Lakes region, click here.