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High school students encouraging their peers to get vaccinated

Casco Bay High School students explain why they are getting the COVID-19 vaccine and how they are trying to encourage their friends to do the same.

PORTLAND, Maine — According to the latest numbers released by the state, 57% of eligible Mainers have gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine but there are still some people who are skeptical, including some of the youngest eligible people.

That's why some students at Casco Bay High School are encouraging their peers to go down to the Portland Expo and get vaccinated.

"I mean there are a lot of people who are hesitant for a lot of different reasons," Casco Bay junior, Devyn Shaughnessy said.

Shaughnessy has been volunteering at the Portland Expo vaccination site for weeks and has also been encouraging her peers to get the shot too.

"I've been trying to just hear where they're coming from and try to gently correct where they might have a factual error," she said.

Becky Bell is the school nurse at Casco Bay.  She said she has been trying to help students set up vaccine appointments and added that the reason most of the students are getting vaccinated is that "when students became close contacts and had to quarantine and miss activities it really drilled it home that this is not something they want to deal with."

Many students who got a vaccine at the Portland Expo on Tuesday said they're getting vaccinated because they're ready to get back to normal.

Bell says "what turned the corner last week seemed to be peer pressure when they see their peers are getting vaccinated."

"Having folks like Devyn has been amazing they really help recruit people to come in to get their vaccine," clinic director Alicia Paquette added.

One of the main reasons students say they're coming to get vaccinated now is because walk-in appointments are now available so it's easier to get the vaccine.