The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its immunization schedules for children and adults on Thursday, and the COVID-19 shot is now listed among the recommended shots.
The addition of COVID-19 shots to the immunization schedule was one of several changes made by the CDC. The agency also updated its guidance on other shots, including Hepatitis B; influenza; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); and poliovirus.
The new guidance calls on an additional dose of the MMR vaccine during mumps outbreaks.
There is also new guidance that recommends a lifetime booster of the poliovirus vaccine for fully vaccinated adults who face an increased risk of being exposed to the virus.
The recommendation calls for children as young as 6 months to begin their primary COVID vaccination series. Children 6 months through 4 years old without compromised immune systems can either get a two-shot Moderna vaccine series or a three-shot Pfizer-BioNTech series. The recommendation for older children and adults is two shots of either vaccine.
The updated vaccine schedule was approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in October 2022. The new vaccine schedule then garnered recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Academy of Physician Associates and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
“ACIP’s recommendations for the use of each vaccine are developed after in-depth reviews of vaccine-related data, including the epidemiology and societal impacts of the vaccine-preventable disease, vaccine efficacy and effectiveness, vaccine safety, quality of evidence, feasibility of program implementation, and economic analyses of immunization policy,” the CDC said.
The CDC said it only makes recommendations for use of vaccines, while school-entry vaccination requirements are determined by state or local jurisdictions.
According to CDC data, less than 10% of children ages 2-4 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 1 in 3 children ages 5-11 are considered fully vaccinated, the CDC said.
The fully updated vaccination schedule is available on the CDC’s website.