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Urban League working to overcome vaccine hesitancy as national poll shows parents unsure about COVID shot

The CDC gave final approval for COVID-19 vaccines in children ages 5-11, but some parents are still deciding if they think their child should get the shot.

ST. LOUIS — Nine months ago, Essence Owens didn't hesitate to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

"I work in the community every day and so it's important for me to be vaccinated," said Owens.

However, now that a vaccine is available for young children, the St. Louis mom and city employee said she wants to hold off before she lets her nine year old daughter roll up her sleeve.

"I'm a little nervous for her. I just want to wait and see how it's gonna affect  other children around her age," said the mom.

Owens' neighbor, DeBora McKenzie-Wishom, is also on the fence about Pfizer's new COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.

"I'm really not comfortable with new vaccines anyway," McKenzie-Wishom said.

McKenzie-Wishom recently got vaccinated after a tough battle with the virus.

Her 15-year-old son is asthmatic.

"For my child, I'm going to wait because he has underlying issues already with his health," she said.

The two St. Louis moms aren't alone.

According to a new national poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 27% of parents with kids ages 5 to 11 said they "would vaccinate their child right away."

However, 35% said they either "definitely wouldn't vaccinate" or "wouldn't unless required."

The others polled said they would "wait and see."

Meantime, the Kirkwood School District is one of the first to team up with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis in an effort to get the vaccine into the arms of younger kids.

So, far about 700 parents have signed up to have their little ones vaccinated.

"We are encouraging residents and parents to do the necessary research and if you make the decision then we are encouraging you to get your children vaccinated. We want to make sure that we have a safe community and that we're able to slow the spread of the coronavirus," the James Clark, the Urban League's  Director of Public Safety.

The Urban League is also holding vaccine clinics throughout the region. They hold vaccine clinics from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday at the following locations:

  • St. Alphonsus Rock Church, 1118 N. Grand Blvd., 63106
  • Northwest High School, 5140 Riverview Blvd., 63120
  • Greater St. Mark Family Church, 9950 Glen Owen Dr., 63136

For more information about the Urban League's COVID-19 programs, click here.