Atlanta—The CDC’s ACIP has recommended incorporating COVID-19 vaccines in 2023 childhood and adult immunization schedules.
The CDC emphasized that it only makes recommendations for the use of vaccines, while school-entry vaccination requirements are determined by state or local jurisdictions.
“It has been almost 2 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,” public health officials stated in a press release. “ACIP’s recommendation to add COVID-19 vaccines to the routinely recommended vaccine schedule represents another step in the nation’s recovery.”
The CDC advised that the action does not represent any changes in COVID-19 vaccine policy. The ACIP’s action “simply helps streamline clinical guidance for healthcare providers by including all currently licensed, authorized, and routinely recommended vaccines in one document.”
The updated schedules and program guidance will be published in early 2023. The CDC said it will continue to update and work with health departments, providers, and other partners over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition of the COVID-19 vaccination program from emergency response to a routine immunization program activity.
One significance of the change is that it likely preserves pharmacists’ ability to administer COVID-19 vaccines once emergency authorization ends. The National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations pointed out in an August report, “Pharmacists in all 50 states can administer all vaccines included on the CDC recommended adult immunization schedule.”
In Missouri, the NASPA noted, a prescription is needed for the Haemophilus influenzae; human papillomavirus; measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); and varicella vaccines. In North Carolina, prescriptions are needed for Haemophilus influenzae, MMR, and varicella vaccines. In addition, the authority for pharmacists excludes MMR and varicella vaccines.
Pharmacists in the District of Columbia can administer all vaccines on the adult immunization schedule except MMR and varicella vaccines.
Even though the CDC made it clear that the ACIP recommendations do not supersede state politics on required vaccinations for school children, a group of Republican state attorneys general registered their opposition in a letter sent to CDC Director Rochelle Wolensky, MD, MPH.
The attorneys general also called on the ACIP to not include the COVID-19 vaccine in the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC), a program created by Congress in the wake of a measles outbreak to ensure that kids from low-income families have access to free vaccines.
“The COVID-19 vaccine does not provide the same protection against life-threatening illnesses. Instead, it could put more kids at risk instead of protecting them which is the purpose of the VCF,” according to the letter. “The CDC should not be treating kids in low-income households as lab experiments. Nor should pharmaceutical companies be allowed to use low-income families as cash cows.”
“Given the lack of need for kids to obtain this ‘vaccine’ and its lack of effectiveness, adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of childhood immunizations amounts to little more than a payout to big pharmaceutical companies at the expense of kids and parents,” continued the state officials.
Signers were from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah.
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Published November 7, 2022