Turnout low among students at Parkway COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Of 4,000 eligible students, parents of 350 showed interest and 200 were actually vaccinated

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – On Monday, Parkway became the first major St. Louis school district to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to students old enough.

Parkway administrators said nearly 4,000 district school students are age-eligible, but 350 showed interest and fewer than 200 turned out to be vaccinated.

Administrators said they were surprised by the low turnout. But they said they believe it has more to do with busy student schedules than reluctance to get vaccines.

Students 16 and older stood in line in front of and in the hallways of Parkway Central Middle School for the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In the gym, health professionals administered the Pfizer shots behind protective blue curtains.

A student whose first name is Griffin explained why he was getting the vaccine.

“Because when I get it, it helps stop the virus from spreading and lessen the effects,” Griffin said.

One student named John said, “I know kids our age like to hang out with friends and other things. To do this, they have to get the vaccine. “

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“We were a little surprised,” said Katherine Park, Parkway’s interim health services director, of the turnout. “All I can guess is that the eligibility for 16-year-olds has not existed for a few weeks and there are more and more opportunities in our region.”

A reporter interviewed students who did not show widespread vaccination reluctance among their peers.

Parkway parent Phyllis Hackman understands the reluctance.

“All I hear from my student is that he is not satisfied with the vaccine,” she said.

Hackman had two students in line waiting to be vaccinated and one declining.

“He’s extremely careful about social distancing and wearing his mask and is seriously afraid of contracting COVID,” Hackman said. “But for some reason he’s just scared of the vaccine.”

Students who did the recording have a message for those who did not.

“If you want to go out and hang out with friends, especially during these times, you should probably be safe and get vaccinated,” said a student named Alice.

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Drew added, “I would encourage them to get the shot. I mean, Parkway made it nice and simple here. There are plenty of places to get it and it helps get things normal much sooner. “

The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only one approved for this age group. The second dose clinic is planned for Monday, May 17th.

5 On Your Side checked with five other school districts. Rockwood has set up a student clinic. The Francis Howell, Fort Zumwalt, and Ritenour school districts currently have no set plans for clinics.

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