Gov. Baker urges younger people to get COVID-19 vaccine

BOSTON — (AP) — Emerging COVID-19 variants have been hitting younger people more seriously than earlier strains of the disease last year, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.

Baker said the trend adds even more urgency to getting younger people vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“One of the things I don’t want young people, or younger people, to walk away believing is that, you know, this isn’t about them, this isn’t going to affect them,” Baker said at a Statehouse press conference.

Baker said the state has done a good job vaccinating those 65 and older.

With that age group largely protected, those in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s are ending up in the hospital more often, he added.

“These new variants are clearly more troubling for younger people than some of the earlier strains of COVID. And I would urge everybody, because everybody over the age of 16 is now eligible, to go get a vaccine,” he said.

Baker also said the state will continue to use the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine after federal health officials lifted a pause on the use of the vaccine.

“We will continue to make J&J available, especially to reach some of those harder to reach populations, where the ease of use and the single dose can make a big difference for people,” Baker said.