INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana continues to see low vaccine numbers in two of the youngest age groups eligible for the shot.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, about 34% of teens ages 12 to 15 and 42% of teens ages 16 to 19 are fully vaccinated. These are two of the lowest vaccine numbers in terms of age groups, and health experts are hoping to continue to improve those numbers.
It's part of the reason KIPP Indy hosted yet another COVID-19 and other vaccine clinics this week.
"It's honestly inspiring to see students lean into their own learning, take responsibility for their decisions, access resources, learn information and then make a decision for their own health," Andy Siebert, executive director of KIPP Indy Public Schools said.
Sharon Cunningham brought her 17-year-old son, Donald Brown, to get his first COVID-19 shot after her own hospitalization with the virus.
"I just encouraged him to get the shot so he wasn't in the same situation," Cunningham said. "I was in the hospital for 14 days."
Brown said watching his mother fight COVID-19 was difficult, and the decision to get the shot is simply the right thing to do.
"Oh, Lord have mercy. You don't want this virus," Cunningham said.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, nearly 38% of Hoosiers age 12 to 15 and 44% age 16 to 19 have at least one dose.
"My classmates are hesitant about getting the vaccine, but it was a go-to for me," Brown said.
Brown's classmate, Cody Mimes, is already fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The 16-year-old says he tries to do his part in educating and encouraging kids his age to follow his lead, tuning out misinformation.
"I hope my example here of me getting the shot will have an impact, it's the least I can do," Mimes said.
Brown, Cunningham and Mimes all hope more students, families and neighbors will decide to get vaccinated.
"Encourage their kids to get the shot, too, including the parents," Cunningham said.
"Don't be afraid to get it because the vaccine is not what's going to kill you, the virus is," Mimes added.
KIPP Indy said it estimates more than 100 people came through the clinic this week for vaccinations, including against COVID-19, influenza and other diseases.
Experts continue to note the best protection against the virus is getting vaccinated.