The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Thursday voted unanimously to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the childhood immunization schedule.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to sign-off on the decision.
While the move does not require schools to have vaccinated students, health departments in many states use the CDC’s immunization schedule as a guideline for local requirements.
“Adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the recommended childhood immunization schedule does not constitute a requirement that any child receive the vaccine,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, a committee member.
“The decision around school entrance for vaccines rests where it did before, which is with the state level, the county level and at the municipal level,” Shah added.
The CDC had previously recommended every American over 6 months of age should receive the vaccine.
Committee member Dr. Matthew Daley said, “I will acknowledge I appreciate that there is symbolism in adding COVID-19 to the childhood immunization schedule and that symbolism is that we view this as routine and that we view this as COVID is here to stay. When I think about the routine immunization schedule as a practicing pediatrician, I think about it as an opportunity in my patients to prevent serious disease and death. That’s what I view that as and if something is added to the schedule, it’s because I feel like the benefits continue to strongly outweigh the risks.”
On Wednesday, the panel voted to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the ‘Vaccines for Kids’ program, a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.
This is a breaking news update