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St. Louisans turn out for vaccine clinic at Vashon High School

Free COVID-19 vaccines were distributed to children over 5 years old and adults during Saturday's event

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis Public Schools and the Urban League of Greater Metropolitan St. Louis teamed up to host a vaccination clinic Saturday morning for people living near Vashon High School.

All three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — were available for adults. Pfizer's vaccine for children between the ages of 5-11 was on hand, too, as long as a parent or guardian was present.

St. Louis health commissioner Dr. Frederick Echols said having a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine helps students stay in school.

"(That helps) with (students') scholastic achievement as well as their social advancement. In addition to that in lifts the burden for families," Echols said.

Quarantines often mean missed school days and missed work for parents.

"We've quarantined over 4,000 kids this year and some 400 staff members," St. Louis Public Schools superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams explained, "so this gives us an opportunity to have kids in school every single day."

Keeping children in school is important, but as James Clark with the Urban League explained, it's more important to keep families healthy.

"It is very important because as we move into the holiday season, this is when we get together. It is when grandma meets the grandbaby for the first time. It's a very family oriented time, so it is important we take the necessary measures," Clark said.

The vaccine event at Vashon High School hosted many families, most bringing their children to get their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but many parents used it as an opportunity to get their COVID-19 booster. U.S. health regulators approved boosters for all adults Friday.

The city's health department also gave out gift cards to adults who received their first vaccine at the clinic.

Echols invited parents or guardians with questions about vaccinating children to join a virtual town hall event on Monday.