It’s now easier to find COVID-19 vaccines for St. Louis children – Community News
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It’s now easier to find COVID-19 vaccines for St. Louis children

Many parents rushed to get their kids vaccinated earlier this month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

After the CDC approved the pediatric vaccine, the federal government sent limited numbers of the lower-dose pediatric version to pharmacies and clinics in Missouri, and appointments quickly filled up.

But the St. Louis doctors now say they have enough injections for anyone who wants them for their children.

“There was a slight delay from the CDC actually approving it, but for the most part with the health centers we are all up and running,” said Dr. Melissa Tepe, Chief Medical Officer at Affinia Healthcare, which operates several community health centers. in the region. “We are almost through our first shipment and we expect a large shipment today.”

Even if one clinic is fully booked, it is likely an event or pharmacy nearby will have an opening to vaccinate a child, she said.

Just two weeks later, crowds for kids have eased slightly, said Spring Schmidt, deputy director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.

“We have received additional shipments. The supply chain looks really solid at the moment,” she said. “We do expect this.” be a little slower and more careful in this age group, but we did see a very good turnout in the first week.”

More than 5,000 children in St. Louis County received their vaccine within the first week of distribution, Schmidt said. Community events at libraries and schools usually fill up, but county-run health clinics often have many appointments for children each day, she said.

Appointments are still moving fast in the region’s hospitals, said Dr. Clay Dunagan, chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

“The anticipation was high and the doses of vaccine that were available have been used as quickly as they have come in,” he said. “We are not under the impression that this has led to a collapse in interest in the vaccine, and appointments are being booked.”

Dunagan expects the initial wave of interest to fade quickly as the parents most eager to get their children vaccinated do so.

“In the previous wave of teens, we had very strong demand at the beginning and it fell off,” he said. “We’ll probably see the same thing. I don’t think anyone should feel anxious [that] they will be able to vaccinate their child.”

In Missouri, about 10% of children ages 5 to 14 are fully vaccinated.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones will hold a virtual town hall meeting Monday for parents to discuss COVID-19 vaccinations in children with Dr. Mati Hlatshawyo Davis, the city’s health director, and Dr. Fred Echols, health commissioner.

“COVID-19 vaccination is safe, effective and free. I made sure my son was vaccinated to help protect him and our loved ones from COVID-19,” Jones said. “Our childhood vaccination program is community-based and this is an important opportunity for parents to get their questions answered.”

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