Covid-19 vaccine added to recommended immunization schedule for children
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added the Covid-19 vaccine to the recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, made up of medical and public health experts, approved the change in October. The revised schedule was released Thursday.
The committee recommends that children aged 6 to 17 be given the two-dose primary vaccine series from three to eight weeks apart, depending on the vaccine used, and the bivalent or booster dose at least eight weeks after they complete the second dose.
The purpose of the schedule is to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases, according to the CDE website. The schedule offers parents and healthcare providers guidance, but does not mandate the vaccines.
Currently, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, including the bivalent booster, have emergency-use authorization for children 6 months of age and older, but have not been fully authorized by the FDA. The two-dose primary series of Novavax Covid vaccines has emergency use authorization for people ages 12 and older.
In California a third of children ages 5 to 11 and 67% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 are vaccinated.
Since March 2020 the deaths of 92 California children ages 17 and younger have been associated with Covid-19, according to the California Department of Public Health.