The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices last Thursday voted unanimously to approve the CDC’s new recommended immunization schedules for adults and children for 2023, which adds vaccination for COVID-19.
The recommended schedule calls for children to begin getting doses of a COVID-19 vaccine when they are 6 months old.
After a brief comment period, the committee of doctors voted with 15 members in favor and none against.
A CDC spokesperson said that regardless of how the ACIP votes, their decision does not alter official policy.
“It’s important to note that there are no changes in COVID-19 vaccine policy, and this action would simply help streamline clinical guidance for healthcare providers by including all currently licensed, authorized and routinely recommended vaccines in one document,” the spokesperson said.
This means that the immunization schedule itself does not impose any requirements on anyone. It can, however, influence how states decide which vaccinations to require for children to attend school.
Critics, however, claim that the CDC’s recommendation will result in states making the decision to require the COVID-19 vaccine in addition to others already required.
“CDC knows this will precipitate mandatory COVID shots for many schools and sports leagues,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tweeted ahead of the vote. The Kentucky congressman including a screenshot of a slide from Wednesday’s meeting that said inclusion in the immunization schedule and the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program “is an important step toward inclusion of COVID-19 vaccines in routine vaccination program.”
ACIP decided that the COVID-19 vaccine should be added to VFC in a separate vote.