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As 3rd Wave Continues, Young Sonorans Turn Out In Droves For COVID-19 Vaccine

Toward the front of the fast-moving line at the University of Sonora site in central Hermosillo on Monday, a mobile swamp cooler kept attendees cool. Dozens and dozens filed steadily by and into the packed the auditorium. Record high-demand for vaccines over the weekend led officials to extend the effort for 18- to 29-year-olds through Wednesday. 

“It’s very hot,” said 19-year-old Jimena Payan, who endured the heat — and her fear of needles — because she believes in the importance of prevention.

“It’s for my safety, and the safety of others,” she said as an official directed her to the waiting area.

Tens of thousands of other young Sonorans have flooded vaccination sites in recent days. On Sunday, nearly 40,000 doses were administered in the capital, a new record, according to a federal official. Well over 100,0000 were given over the last three days, according to Sonoran Health Secretary Enrique Clausen.

But the surge in vaccinations comes as Sonora’s third wave worsens.

“The federal government put us at orange,” Clausen recently said, referring to the second-highest level on the national coronavirus risk scale.

Hermosillo also just rose to red, or maximum risk, on the state’s own scale, one of now five with that troubling status. Clausen urged state residents to continue to abide by pandemic safety measures, and to get vaccinated.

On Monday, 25-year-old Jesus Andres Urias had the same message for other young Sonorans as he was being monitored for side-effects after getting his first dose. His biggest reason for coming was protecting his parents, and he said it took only about a half hour to receive his injection.

“Don't be afraid,” he said. “It's not a big deal."

Murphy Woodhouse was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.