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The CDC endorses the addition of Covid shots in their recommended vaccine schedule

Thursday’s vote by the advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was in favor to include the Covid vaccine in the recommended immunization schedule for adults and children.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously that children 6 months old and older should receive the Covid vaccine plus boosters when they are eligible.

Every year, the CDC’s advisory panel meets to update and review the vaccination schedule. This schedule helps doctors decide when to give important vaccines to children, such as polio, measles, and whooping cough.

The CDC now has the authority to add Covid vaccine to the schedule. Although the agency is expected and required to approve the recommendation, it is not required.

The recommended immunization schedule does not constitute a mandate for vaccination. Each state and each local jurisdiction determine which vaccines are necessary for school attendance.

“Moving Covid-19 according to the recommended immunization program does not affect what vaccines are required for school admission,” Dr. Nirav Shah (director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention) stated during Thursday’s ACIP meeting. “Local control is important. We recognize that school admission for vaccines is a decision at the local level. This includes the state, county, and municipal levels.

He said, “This discussion doesn’t change that.”

In 2006, for example, the CDC included the HPV vaccine in its recommended schedule. Only a few states and territories have required vaccinations since then. The HPV vaccines are required for both boys and girls in Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. Only girls are allowed to get the vaccines in Virginia.

Regular adjustments to the schedule are made by the advisory committee. For children living in areas like Puerto Rico or American Samoa, where dengue is an endemic, last year, a vaccine was added. The committee could also make recommendations on which strain-specific vaccines are recommended for certain diseases, such as pneumonia.

According to Dr. Julie Morita (executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), the immunization schedule “is the gold standard” that helps clinicians decide which vaccines they should recommend. Morita is also an ex-public health commissioner for Chicago and a former pediatrician.

She said, “I used to look every single year, waiting for the vaccine schedule to ensure I was following all the recommended vaccinations.”

Insurance providers are advised to follow the CDC’s recommended vaccination list. They tend to cover vaccines from the list. This will be crucial next year as federal funds for Covid vaccines will run out and the burden will shift towards the private sector.

The committee voted Wednesday to include Covid vaccines in the Vaccines for Children Program. This federal program provides free vaccines for children who are eligible for Medicaid or have coverage.

Morita stated that adding the vaccine to the VFC program makes these vaccines accessible to uninsured or underinsured children.

In recent years, vaccination rates for children have fallen dramatically worldwide, especially during the pandemic.

In recent weeks, the number of children suffering from Covid has been decreasing. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported nearly 28,000 cases of Covid among children in the U.S. in the last week. Since April, the weekly number of cases has fallen below 30,000 for the first time. About 13% of all new Covid cases now involve children.

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