A unanimous vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’  is not final and the CDC will now decide whether to officially add the COVID-19 vaccine to the vaccination schedule.

The committee meets annually to review the immunization schedule, which sets a recommended schedule for when people get vaccines. This includes vaccinations against polio, whooping cough and measles.

CDC is expected to follow the committee's recommendation.

The agency first recommended in June that children between the ages of six months and five years get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying "the COVID-19 vaccines have undergone—and will continue to undergo—the most intensive safety monitoring in the U.S."

ACIP said its vote "represents the next step in the nation's recovery" from the global pandemic, which has caused widespread lockdowns and public health advisories.

The state and local government will still decide which vaccinations are mandatory for school attendance. Some schools already require students to receive vaccines against COVID-19.

In the past, the CDC has added vaccines to immunization schedules that are not generally required by schools. Rhode Island, Washington DC and Puerto Rico require public school students to receive the HPV vaccine, which the agency added to the recommended schedule in 2006. According to NBC News, only girls attending public schools must receive the vaccine in Virginia.

Children's vaccination rates have fallen over the past two years. About 94% of kindergartens had the required vaccines in 2020-2021—1% less than the CDC goal.

Reasons for the decline include disruptions to regular pediatric care due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in distance and home education, as well as increased parental skepticism about vaccinations.

An updated vaccination schedule is expected to be published in early 2023.


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