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COVID-19 vaccines should be added to immunization schedules for kids and adults, CDC advisory panel recommends

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ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously on Thursday in favor of recommending that COVID-19 vaccines be placed on the immunization schedules for children and adults.

"Today, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended updates to the 2023 childhood and adult immunization schedules, which includes incorporating additional information for approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines. CDC only makes recommendations for use of vaccines, while school-entry vaccination requirements are determined by state or local jurisdictions," a press release from the government agency noted.

"It has been almost two years since COVID-19 vaccines were first rolled out in the U.S., and nearly 630 million doses have since been administered nationwide, providing people with critical protection against severe COVID-19. ACIP's recommendation to add COVID-19 vaccines to the routinely recommended vaccine schedule represents another step in the nation's recovery," the release claimed. "The updated schedules and program guidance will be published in early 2023."

The CDC was already recommending COVID-19 vaccination for people aged 6 months and older.

While the move to add the vaccines to the vaccine schedule for kids does not impose any sort of vaccination mandate for schools around the U.S., local policy makers could potentially look to the schedule's recommendations for guidance.

"The ACIP voted unanimously to add the Covid vaccine to the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for kids. The CDC will likely approve it. The CDC already recommends everyone 6 months and older receive the vaccine so the vote today was not a surprise, merely a formality," Dr. Nicole Saphier tweeted. "Today's vote in itself is not a mandate. When state/local authorities form vaccine requirements for school & other activities, they often defer to the CDC’s immunization schedule. It is to be seen whether Covid vaccines will be required for some kids to attend school," she added.

Florida surgeon general Joseph Ladapo tweeted on Wednesday, "Regardless of what @CDCgov votes tomorrow on whether COVID-19 vax are added to routine child immunizations - nothing changes in FL. Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis, COVID mandates are NOT allowed in FL, NOT pushed into schools, & I continue to recommend against them for healthy kids."

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