CDC advisors recommend adding Covid shots to routine immunization schedules for children and adults

CDC advisors recommend adding Covid shots to routine immunization schedules for children and adults

“This does not represent new recommendations. This is kind of a summary of the current recommendations,” said advisory committee member Matthew Daly, senior researcher at the Institute for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente, Colorado. “But I will acknowledge … that there is symbolism in adding Covid-19 To the immunization schedule for children, and that symbolism is that we look at this as routine and we look at it as Covid is here to stay.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two messenger-RNA vaccines that target Covid: the Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccine for people 12 years and older and Moderna’s primary series for adults 18 and older. Each is approved for emergency use for children under 6 months of age, and all booster doses — including new formulations designed to target the original coronavirus strain and two Omicron sub variants — are approved for emergency use.

The agency also authorized a series of two initial doses of a protein-based vaccine by Novavax for emergency use in individuals 12 years of age and older, as well as a single booster dose in a limited group of adults.

Vaccine law experts acknowledge that adding Covid vaccines to an immunization schedule can affect states that tend to require them to enter school to do so, and many states use the schedules as a guide to requirements. But the CDC committee’s recommendations do not lead to mandates, and 21 states have passed laws banning mandates for a Covid vaccine to students.

Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a member of the advisory committee, noted that there are vaccines on the schedule now, such as the seasonal flu shots, that many jurisdictions do not require for children to go to school.

“Local control is important, and we respect that the decision about school entry for vaccines is where it was before, that is, at the state level, at the district level and at the municipal level, if it existed at all,” Shah said. They rule which vaccinations, if any, are required to enter the school. This discussion does not change that.”

According to the National Academy of Government Health Policy, 21 states have imposed student bans on the Covid vaccine. Washington, D.C. has required students eligible for fully approved Covid vaccines to be immunized by 2023, and California has a similar requirement that will not start before July 2023.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the inclusion of vaccines in the routine immunization schedule also requires that most health care plans cover their administration without sharing costs with patients. While Covid shots are still free to all who want and are eligible for them, the federal government has indicated that it will shift its coverage to the private market early next year as funding for the pandemic response dries up.

On Wednesday, the committee also voted unanimously to add Covid-19 vaccines to the federal pediatric vaccination program. The move allows the shots to be made free to children of families who might not otherwise be able to afford it, such as those who qualify for Medicaid, those who are uninsured, and American Indians or Alaska Natives.

Updated immunization schedules indicate that infection claims linked to Covid vaccines should continue with the Countermeasures Compensation Program, which is designed to compensate people receiving vaccines and other treatments created or used during epidemics. That program has received thousands of claims linked to Covid vaccines but has yet to pay any, in part because federal officials are waiting for patients to provide detailed documentation to support their claims.

Adding Covid vaccines to children’s routine immunization schedule is the first step in getting shots covered by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a more established program that allows those claiming vaccine injuries to pursue settlements from the federal government rather than vaccine manufacturers. HHS will have to formally add Covid vaccines to the VICP program, and Congress will have to pass legislation taxing Covid vaccine doses to be covered under the program.

Patient advocates, lawyers and drug makers Fear that the program will collapse Without reforms to the federal court that hears claims and the process for adding vaccines.

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