Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released several updates to their childhood and teen immunization schedule.
One of the updates was the addition of COVID-19 vaccines to the vaccination schedule for children and adolescents.
The schedule posted on the CDC website recommends that children aged six months to 18 years receive two doses of the primary series four to eight weeks apart, followed by a booster dose at least eight weeks later.
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Children with “moderate or severe immunodeficiency” should include a third dose in the primary series, according to the CDC.
The CDC first recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for young children aged six months to five years in June 2022.
However, the vaccine was not officially added to the vaccination schedule until just this month.
Physician supports individual vaccine choice
Dr. Mark Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York and a medical officer for Fox News, is open to the vaccine being added to schedules for children five and older because it will help with insurance. coverage and also increase accessibility for children at higher risk, such as obese or diabetic children.
“I wouldn’t add six months to five years to the recommended list, but I would make it accessible, especially for children at risk,” he told Fox News Digital via email.
Regardless of age, Dr. Siegel believes that choosing a vaccine should remain a personal choice.
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“I strongly believe that the vaccine should not be mandatory,” Dr. Siegel said.
He added that “there are several vaccines on the CDC’s list, including the flu, that are not usually authorized by state or local health departments.”
The doctor noted that while the symptoms of COVID in children are generally mild, reinfection can lead to a higher likelihood of brain fog, “prolonged COVID” and other complications.
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“The decision to vaccinate should be made between the child, the parent and the pediatrician,” he said.
The CDC may recommend vaccinations, but cannot mandate them.
The CDC vaccination schedule is a recommendation, not a requirement.
Adding COVID vaccines to the schedule does not mean that students will have to receive them before starting school.
“The decision to vaccinate should be made between the child, the parent and the pediatrician.”
However, schools seek guidance from the CDC when making decisions about immunization requirements.
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As stated on the CDC website, vaccination requirements in schools are determined by state and local laws.
Individual states may also impose vaccination requirements for those who work in the healthcare industry.
COVID vaccination status of minors
As of Feb. 15, just under 17% of children five years of age and younger have received the full series of vaccines, including boosters, according to the CDC website.
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Among children aged 12 and under, 18.2% are fully vaccinated and revaccinated.
This proportion rises to 19.3% for children aged 18 and under.