This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS – A pediatric infectious disease physician says parents are worried about the risks of the recently approved COVID vaccine that might pose to their children. They should keep in mind the even greater risks of being unvaccinated.

Dr. Jason Newland, Washington University pediatric infectious disease physician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, says he was very impressed with the results of the study of about 3,000 children between 5-11 who took the Pfizer vaccine. 

“That data revealed an effectiveness of this COVID-19 vaccine in the 5 to 11 year age group of 90 percent, and there was no serious side effect seen in the trials in the children that received the vaccine,” he said. 

The recent drop in coronavirus infections has left some parents wondering whether they should vaccinate elementary school-age children. The answer from Newland is an unequivocal yes.

Shots will be free at one-third the dose of the adult vaccine and will be delivered in two shots at least three weeks apart. Experts say the St. Louis area should get enough pediatric doses to meet the demand.

“Our community rallied together with the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force, BJC,  St. Louis Children’s Cardinal Glennon, Mercy, the public health departments, (and) everybody is coming together, so there’s plenty of opportunity for people to go get vaccinated,” Newland said.

There will be more options for children in the coming months. Both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are awaiting FDA approval for their vaccines.