The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a few updates last week to its child and adolescent immunization schedule.
One update was the addition of COVID-19 vaccines to the child and adolescent immunization schedule.
The schedule, which is posted on the CDC’s website, recommends that children between six months of age and 18 years old should receive two doses of the primary series between four and eight weeks apart — followed by a booster dose at least eight weeks later.
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Children who are “moderately or severely immunocompromised” should include a third dose in the primary series, says the CDC.
The CDC first recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for young children between six months and five years old in June 2022.
However, the vaccine was not officially added to the immunization schedule until just this month.
Doctor supports individual choice for vaccines
Dr. Marc Siegel, professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City and a Fox News medical contributor, is not against the vaccine being added to the schedule for kids five years and older, because it will help with insurance coverage and will also increase availability for higher risk kids, such as those with obesity or those who have diabetes.
“I would not add six months to five years to the recommended list yet — but I would make it available, especially for higher risk children,” he told Fox News Digital in an email.
Regardless of age, Dr. Siegel believes the vaccine should remain a personal choice.
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“I feel strongly that the vaccine should not be mandated,” Dr. Siegel said.
He added that “there are several vaccines on the CDC list — including influenza — that are not generally mandated by state or local health departments.”
The doctor pointed out that while COVID symptoms are generally mild in kids, repeated infection can lead to a higher chance of brain fog, “long COVID” and other complications.
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“The decision of whether to get the vaccine should be between the child, parent and pediatrician,” he said.
CDC can recommend shots but can’t mandate them
The CDC’s vaccine schedule is a recommendation — not a requirement.
The addition of COVID vaccines to the schedule doesn’t mean that students will have to get them before enrolling in school.
“The decision of whether to get the vaccine should be between the child, parent and pediatrician.”
However, schools do seek guidance from the CDC when making decisions about immunization requirements.
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As stated on the CDC’s website, schools’ vaccination requirements are determined by state and local laws.
Individual states can also roll out vaccination mandates for those working in the health care field.
State of juvenile COVID vaccinations
As of Feb. 15, just under 17% of children five years old and younger have received their full series of vaccines, including the booster, per the CDC website.
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Among kids 12 years old or younger, 18.2% are fully vaccinated and boosted.
That share rises to 19.3% for kids 18 years old or younger.