ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — It's a decision that could impact 28 million children.
On Tuesday, a CDC committee will determine if children 5-11 years old can get the COVID-19 vaccine. This comes on the heels of FDA approval last week.
Shots could begin as soon as the next day if the CDC committee gives the green light.
St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page calls this an important milestone, especially after looking at the latest numbers.
"In St. Louis County, community transmission is higher than any other age group. The average rate of new cases is highest among 5-9 years old," Page says.
While some parents are ready to get their kids the shot, others refuse.
In a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, parents voiced what they plan to do.
- 27% of parents are eager to get their 5-11 year old vaccinated
- 33% say they will wait a while to see how the vaccine is working
- 30% of parents say they will definitely not get the vaccine for their child
- The rest are split with doing it if it's required and still undecided
Some of their biggest concerns include the unknown, long-term effects, serious side effects, and infertility.
Mercy pediatricians Dr. Maya Moody and Dr. Jessica Smith both note Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. It's a topic many parents have brought forth.
"Your risk of getting Myocarditis is 37 times greater with the disease than the vaccine," Dr. Jessica Smith points out.
Dr. Maya Moody also adds, "It’s fairly common, it happens a lot for viral infections or other drugs that can cause it. Because the risk with the virus is higher than the risk of it for the vaccine, I still strongly recommend the vaccine."
Logistics also seems to be a problem.
For parents who make less than $50,000 a year, 51% of parents admit they're concerned about taking time off from work to care for a sick child if they experience side effects from the vaccine.
"I know parents don't want to miss work but think about the work you have to miss if you have to get your kid quarantined," Dr. Smith adds.
Some are concerned about difficulty traveling to a place to get their child vaccinated and having to pay an out-of-pocket cost.
Dr. Smith also tells 5 On Your Side, "A main concern parents have is that kids don’t need it and they'd do fine with COVID. Even if your child is fine with COVID, they could give COVID to someone else unknowingly."
The biggest advice both pediatricians have is to talk to your doctor, especially if you have specific concerns.
If the CDC moves forward and approves, St. Louis County Health Department already plans to have several vaccine clinics this Saturday.
It will offer pediatric vaccines at all three of its health centers and at four library branches.
This includes holding evening hours twice a week at the South County Health Center in Sunset Hills and Saturday hours at John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley.
Dr. Smith explains the possible side effects can be similar to adults and tend to happen just a few hours after the shot. It should last a day or two.