Infectious Disease

CDC committee recommends adding COVID-19 vaccine to childhood immunization schedule

October 20, 2022

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The CDC’s vaccine advisory committee voted Thursday to approve the addition of COVID-19 vaccines to the recommended childhood immunization schedule.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) vote was unanimous at 15-0, advising that eligible children aged 6 months and older should be administered COVID-19 vaccines.

The CDC’s vaccine advisory committee voted unanimously to add COVID-19 vaccination to the childhood immunization schedule. Source: Adobe Stock

According to CDC data, from July 31 to Aug. 7, only 33.3% of children and adolescents aged 6 months to 17 years were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

During the ACIP’s 2-day meeting in Atlanta, Sara Oliver, MD MSPH, the lead for the COVID-19 vaccines ACIP work group, outlined a COVID-19 vaccination schedule for children.

For children who are not immunocompromised, the schedule is:

  • two doses for children aged 6 months to 4 years who received the Moderna vaccine (4-8-week interval), and three doses for children in the same age group who received of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (3-8 weeks between first two doses and at least 8 weeks between second and third dose);
  • two doses of Moderna (4-8-week interval) or Pfizer-BioNTech (3-8-week interval) for children aged 5 to 11 years, with a Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster for those aged 5 years and a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna bivalent booster for those aged 6 to 11 years at least 2 months later; other
  • two doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Novavax vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 years, with a bivalent booster at least 2 months after the second dosage.

For moderate or severely immunocompromised children, the schedule is:

  • three doses of Moderna (4-week intervals) or Pfizer-BioNTech (3 weeks between first two doses and at least 8 weeks between second and third dose) for those aged 6 months to 4 years;
  • three doses of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech for children aged 5 to 11 years, with the third dose given at least 4 weeks after the second dose, as well as a Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster for children aged 5 years and Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna bivalent booster for those aged 6 to 11 years given at least 2 months later; other
  • three doses of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years and a bivalent booster at least 2 months later, or two doses of the Novavax vaccine and a bivalent booster at least 2 months later.

The ACIP also recommended adding COVID-19 vaccines to the Vaccines for Children program, allowing them to be available at no cost for children whose families may be dissuaded from vaccination due to barriers like insurance or inability to pay.

“This step helps ensure equitable access to the vaccines as we transition COVID-19 countermeasures to the commercial marketplace,” Sandra Adamson FryhoferMDMACP, FRCP, board chair of the AMA, said in a press release.

References:

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