ATLANTA >> The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added COVID-19 vaccinations to a list of suggested routine immunizations, but they in no way mandate vaccines.
The CDC’s vaccine schedule, released Thursday, does not set requirements for vaccines in schools or in the workplace. State and local jurisdictions decide which immunizations are required for children attending schools and day care centers. Medical and religious exemptions to vaccines are also allowed in many states, including Georgia.
The changes in the vaccination schedule were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. They include the addition of COVID primary series and recommendations on booster doses, and updated guidance on several other vaccines including influenza, pneumococcal, and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines.
The schedule recommends additional doses of MMR vaccine during a mumps outbreak; and a new section for polio vaccinations outlining “special situations” in which a one-time polio vaccine booster would be recommended for adults who are at increased exposure to the virus.
The most talked-about change is likely to be the addition of COVID vaccines to the schedule of routine vaccinations for both adults and children as young as 6 months of age. Boosters are also recommended for adults and children.
“This means COVID-19 vaccine is now presented as any other routinely recommended vaccine and is no longer presented in a special “call out” box as in previous years. This, in a sense, helps ‘normalize’ this vaccine and sends a powerful message to both healthcare providers and the general public that everyone ages 6 months and older should stay up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines (including a booster, when eligible), just as they would with any other routinely recommended vaccine,” Dr. Neil Murthy and Dr. A. Patricia Wodi said in a statement to CNN.
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