St. Louis Area Rolling Out COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids Under 5


click to enlarge Vaccines for kids under five are coming. - FLICKR / @VACCINESTOCKPHOTOS
Vaccines for kids under five are coming.

Parents breathed a sigh of relief when the Food and Drug Administration issued approval for the COVID-19 vaccine for kids under five last week, and then again Saturday when the CDC’s approval came through for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Now, the question is where to find the vaccine for the little ones.

The federal government’s website to find vaccines only lists one spot available in Jefferson City or one available in Anna, Illinois, when typing in various St. Louis area ZIP codes. Missouri’s website has yet to be updated to include the new age group. In an email to the RFT, a St. Louis County Department of Health spokesperson said that the county expects to have the category added soon to their website; St. Louisans are encouraged to visit ReviveSTL.com for updates.
St. Louis City Department of Health Public Information Officer Kim Vanden Berg says in an email to the RFT the department knows “many parents and guardians have long waited to vaccinate their children and are eager to protect them from COVID-19.”

“The Department of Health wants to ensure this young population receives the vaccine in the safest and most supportive environment,” Vanden Berg continues. “To do this, the department will work with community partners to provide additional information soon on where parents and guardians can receive a vaccine for their child(ren).”

However, one health system has started scheduling appointments for kids under five. The BJC healthcare system allows parents and guardians to make an appointment for their child. The appointment scheduler, at the time of this article’s publication, has the first available day as June 28. Additionally, the scheduler notes that “scheduling options may fluctuate, so please check back often.”

The CDC assured the public in a statement that the vaccines “have undergone — and will continue to undergo — the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history." COVID-19 vaccines have been widely available for adults since last year, and this approval is a long-awaited step in the fight against COVID-19.

Recent data from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force has shown a slight increase in hospitalizations for adults since late May, with a total of 55 hospitalizations during the week of June 14 to June 20. The number of hospitalizations were at 18 in the week of May 17 to May 24. No pediatric data has been reported since May 2, when there were zero children reported to be hospitalized.

According to the CDC, the percentage of Missouri’s population that is fully vaccinated sits at 56.6 percent.