ST. LOUIS — Pediatricians in the St. Louis area expect to start administering COVID-19 vaccinations for children under the age of 5 starting Tuesday.

Roughly 18 million kids are now eligible for either Pfizer or Moderna’s shots. In the previous children’s vaccine rollout for kids ages, 5 to 11, less than a third of that group have received the shots.

“We know that there are people out there just trying to understand and making sure it’s safe for their child,” said Dr. Jason Newland, a Washington University Infectious Diseases Specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

He said he is confident the vaccine is safe and effective for children as young as 6 months old.

“When you look at all the data that been compiled in this age group,” said Newland. “They had a seizure in one individual among over four or five thousand. That’s extremely rare. We’ve been giving millions up millions of doses to children that are 5 and up. We’ve learned it continues to be safer than we originally thought.”

Pfizer’s vaccine will be three doses, each one-tenth the amount given to adults. Moderna’s is two shots, each a fourth of the adult dose.

Newland said children who had COVID and recovered should get vaccinated.

“We know that those who’ve had natural infection do better if they have had the vaccination, especially because we’re going to have other variants,” he said.

BJC Healthcare facilities in the St. Louis area will start giving the vaccinations Tuesday. Here’s a link for parents to make an appointment for their kids: https://vaccinate.bjc.org/schedule.