CDC Adds COVID Vax to Child Immunization Schedule

The CDC has added the COVID vaccine to its routine immunization schedule for adolescents and children. The new recommendations were issued Thursday and included adding primary series shots and boosters for babies as young as six months old. The new schedule allows states to mandate the COVID vaccine for children to attend school.

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Officials at the CDC now recommend that children between 6 months and 18 receive the two-dose or three-dose primary series of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccine and the subsequent booster. The CDC recommended the three-dose series for the “moderately or severely immunocompromised.”

2023 CDC Immunization Schedule

The addition of the COVID-19 vaccine to the immunization schedule comes despite not being covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine continue to enjoy special liability protections under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, which is scheduled to expire on October 1, 2024.

The CDC announced the changes as part of the Biden administration’s effort to wind down the state of emergency and normalize the new vaccine schedule. The CDC said on its website,

“The 2023 child and adolescent immunization schedule, available on the CDC immunization schedule website, summarizes [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] recommendations, including several changes from the 2022 immunization schedule. Health care providers are advised to use the tables, notes, and appendix together to determine recommended vaccinations for patient populations.”

They then followed up with a list of endorsements behind the decision,

“This immunization schedule is recommended by ACIP and approved by CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Academy of Physician Associates, and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.”

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky testified to the Health Subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday regarding the decision,

“I think that we need to recognize the reason that ACIP recommended and CDC put forward getting the COVID-19 vaccine on the pediatric schedule; it was the only way it could be covered in our Vaccines for Children program. It was the only way that our uninsured children would be able to have access to the vaccines. That was the reason to put it on the schedule. It can’t be eligible for the Vaccines for Children’s program to be available to the underinsured unless it is on that schedule.”

Despite Walensky’s claims, there is no indication that adding the vaccine to the schedule was necessary for coverage in the program. According to a report by Gateway Pundit, the ACIP made its recommendation to the Vaccine for Children program one day before the CDC updated the immunization schedule. Schools and states frequently use the schedule as guidelines for their vaccine policies.

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Currently, 21 states, including Florida, ban statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students. Washington, D.C., is now the only jurisdiction that requires students to receive the vaccine to attend school. Oregon requires school faculty to receive the vaccine.

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2023 CDC Immunization Schedule

California governor Gavin Newsom previously pledged to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for K-12 students but ultimately did not impose one. The proposed legislation is set to be scrapped entirely with the expiration of California’s three-year state emergency at the end of February.

The nationwide public health emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic is set to expire on May 11.

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