COVID-19 vaccines have been added to the child and adolescent immunization schedule by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which released a few updates last week to it with several recommendations.
The schedule posted on the CDC’s website, which formalizes the guidance for health care providers and schools, recommends that children aged six months to 18 years should receive two doses of the primary series between four and eight weeks apart, followed by a booster at least eight weeks after the primary series.
The agency recommends that children receive doses appropriate for their age, noting that pediatric vaccines are smaller doses than adult jabs.
Per the CDC website, just under 17% of children five years old and younger have received their full series of vaccines, including the booster, as of Feb. 15 while around 18.2% of the kids 12 years old or younger are fully vaccinated and boosted.
Among children 18 years old or younger, that share rises to 19.3%.
In line with the recommendations, healthy children aged 6 months to 4 years should receive two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer monovalent Covid-19 vaccine as primary series, followed by a third dose of a bivalent vaccine.
Kids aged 5 to 12 should receive two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer Covid jab followed by a bivalent shot whereas children aged 12 and up should get two doses of the Moderna, Pfizer or Novavax vaccine followed by a bivalent booster.
The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that the primary series includes a third dose for children who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, noting that it these children should also receive a bivalent booster.
Only Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech produce updated bivalent jabs that target COVID variants that were circulating widely last fall.
Since CDC cannot mandate vaccines, its vaccine schedule is only a recommendation and not a requirement which means that students will not have to get them before enrolling in school.
The schools’ vaccination requirements are determined by state and local laws, as stated on the CDC’s website, but schools nevertheless do seek CDC guidance when making decisions about immunization requirements.
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