ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Beginning Friday morning, children under 5 years old will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in St. Louis County. It comes after the CDC just signed off on children in that age group to actually get the vaccine.
At the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley and the South County Health Center in Sunset Hills, doors will open at 8 a.m. for young children to get a COVID shot.
"Can I get vaccinated today?" 4-year-old Chloe asked her mom after hearing her discuss the vaccines.
Her mother, Monica Rittmeyer, has two daughters.
"I do have an older daughter who we decided to get vaccinated but under 5, I think I'm going to wait,” Rittmeyer said.
Seven-year-old Madalynn didn't have any problems, but mom just wants to make sure the vaccine will be just as effective for younger children.
"We're not seeing, you know, any unusual incidents of side effects in small children outside of the very minor things that we saw overall with the older children and young adults,” said Dr. David Hunstad of St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
It's why Unstad is excited the CDC is now making COVID vaccines available to children under 5.
"That's a population that not only could get more sick with COVID-19, but also carry it, spread it to other individuals," he said.
According to the CDC, there have been more than 2 million confirmed COVID cases among children between 6 months and 4 years old since the pandemic began. More than 200 children have died.
Right now, St. Louis County has online appointments available for young children, beginning Friday.
Parent Zeiona Edwards has questions.
"How would you know how your kid will react off of it?" she asked.
But because she was vaccinated and had no problems, she's keeping an open mind.
"I'll think about it,” she said.
"If it becomes a school mandate, it keeps her in school, I'll consider it but I'm not in a rush,” Rittmeyer added.
"Have a conversation with your child's doctor about your own child, about your family situation and others who may be living in your household because I think that's the best way to work through concerns or questions that people have about vaccinating their small children," Dr. Unstad suggested.
Both St. Louis County locations will accept walk-ins but appointments are recommended.
St. Louis Children's Hospital is also taking online appointments.