Advisors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously Thursday to add COVID-19 vaccines to the 2023 schedule for childhood and adult immunizations.

Why is this important: The 15-0 vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices creates streamlined guidelines on what vaccines people can get and at what age.

Yes, but: States and localities still have the power to decide whether to require vaccinations for school-aged children.

To note: More than 20 states have already banned the COVID vaccine from being mandatory for college students, according to the National Academy of State Health Policy.

  • Washington DC is the only jurisdiction so far mandating COVID vaccinations for students eligible for FDA-approved vaccines, but the City Council may delay the Jan. 3, 2023, deadline.
  • California will not mandate vaccines this school year, health officials have said. The first COVID-19 vaccines would be required for school attendance on July 1, 2023.
  • While the flu shot has long been on the annual immunization schedule, only seven states require it, according to a tracker of child care and pre-K vaccination mandates.

What they say : Thursday’s vote was quickly rebuffed by conservatives like Florida Governor Ron DeSantiswho said parents should have the last word.

  • In a tweet wednesday Commenting on the vaccine schedule update, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf noted, “We need to be clear that the benefits outweigh the risk of vaccination, but the mandates don’t fall under neither from the CDC nor the FDA.

And after: The CDC is generally expected to accept the recommendation.

  • The approval could expand access to vaccines because the Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover vaccines listed on the CDC’s schedule, said Emmanuel Drabo, health economist at Johns Hopkins University.
  • But the decision “isn’t enough to bring our levels of vaccine coverage to the levels we want them to be,” said Julie Morita, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former Chicago health commissioner. .
  • “The challenge ahead of us is really more resources,” Morita said.

Rollback: The CDC panel separately added COVID vaccines to the federal childhood vaccine program, to ensure that uninsured children will continue to have access to vaccines when funding runs out.

  • The FDA has only approved the Pfizer primary series vaccine for people age 12 and older and the Moderna primary series vaccine for people age 18 and older.
  • COVID vaccines for children 6 months and older and all booster doses are allowed for emergencies.
  • That includes Novavax, which the agency cleared Wednesday as a booster shot for adults.

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