A CDC panel unanimously voted on Wednesday to add the Covid-19 vaccine to the recommended childhood schedule.
The decision from the agency’s advisory committee (ACIP) would add the Covid-19 shot to the public health agency’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. Fifteen voting members of mostly scientific or medical expert backgrounds make up the panel and are responsible for making vaccine recommendations. All of the panelists are chosen by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after an application and nomination process.
The ACIP’s Wednesday recommendation now goes to CDC Director Rochelle Walenksy and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for approval. Once approved, the advice will be included in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a publication of public health information.
“As we’ll be discussing today and tomorrow, the incorporation of the COVID-19 vaccine in the immunization schedule and the vaccines for children or VFC program is an important step in the inclusion of COVID-19 vaccines in a routine vaccination program,” Dr. Sara Oliver, member of the CDC’s ACIP, said.
The CDC immunization schedule is a guideline for states to adopt if they choose. It is not mandated nationally, according to the CDC. Some states may opt to make the Covid-19 vaccine a condition of attending public school.
“State laws establish vaccination requirements for school children,” the CDC website says. “These laws often apply not only to children attending public schools but also to those attending private schools and day care facilities.”
Ahead of the panel’s vote, some Republican-controlled states assured residents that the Covid-19 would not be mandated for children. Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo tweeted: “Regardless of what the CDC votes on whether COVID-19 vaccines are added to routine child immunizations – nothing changes in Florida.”
“Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis, COVID mandates are NOT allowed in FL, NOT pushed into schools, & I continue to recommend against them for healthy kids,” he said.