ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Children are starting the school year in person, unlike last year. Now, doctors say there are two more things to add to the back-to-school list: masks and vaccines.
At the St. Louis County Department of Health, the front door swings open, with so many young patients rolling through. They're set up for the back-to-school physicals and vaccinations.
First grader Saniya Robinson has so much she's looking forward to.
"Art, music, the library,” she said. “Science because probably the best thing I like to do."
Too young for a COVID vaccine, this Armstrong Eagle said she will be back in class with a mask, and says that's no problem.
When asked if masks bother her, her answer was simple.
“No," she said.
Doctors say that masks make a difference in other diseases too. Right now they're dealing with a spike in respiratory illnesses like RSV, which usually peak in the winter.
“Yes RSV is it out of control, right now,” said Dr. Jason Newland with Washington University and Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Jason Newland, an infectious disease specialist, said they are like so many other hospital system. They are inundated with kids coming in with respiratory illnesses, including COVID.
“It demonstrates how well masks work and number two it just demonstrates how tenuous it can be in all of our hospitals when we start having additional respiratory viruses add to a COVID-19 surge as well,” he said.
The county health department said they're giving 300 to 500 COVID shots a week at this location now, but as Saniya walks away there's no bandage on her arm. She's fully up-to-date and ready for her first day on the 23rd.
In addition to other vaccinations, doctors say it's important to get your child a COVID vaccine as soon as possible if they're eligible.