Governors, doctors respond as CDC adds COVID jab to vaccine schedule

by Jacob Fuller

Lauren Dempsey, MS in Biomedicine and Law, RN, FISM News 


On Thursday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted to add COVID-19 vaccines to childhood and adult immunization schedules. Many are worried the recommendation will be used to change state and local vaccine requirements for schools.

The agency promised to continue working “with health departments, providers, and other partners over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition of the COVID-19 vaccination program from emergency response to a routine immunization program activity.”

This comes even as growing evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are associated with more risks than benefits, especially in young children and young adult males. Additionally, a Pfizer executive recently admitted that the company never clinically evaluated its COVID shot to test if it stopped viral transmission before it was rolled out and aggressively pushed on tens of millions of people around the world.

While the CDC makes recommendations for routine vaccination schedules, many fear that this move by the committee will lead states to issue mandates for school-age children.

Dr. Nirav Shah, an ACIP member and Director of Maine’s CDC, said the committee’s decision really doesn’t change anything as far as school requirements go.

“The decision around school entrance for vaccines rests where it did before, which is with the state level, the county level, and at the municipal level,” Shah said. Shah also pointed out that there are vaccines on the schedule that are not required, such as the flu shot.

However, this decision has some government officials speaking out against the possibility of future mandates. Governor Ron DeSantis hit on this fear that schools will mandate the vaccines, vowing that he will not mandate COVID-19 vaccines and emphasized that it was not recommended by Florida’s Surgeon General.

Governor Kay Ivey also spoke out, tweeting “Here in Alabama, the parents make decisions when it comes to their children’s health care. We do NOT mandate the covid shot for kids – nor will we ever.”

Experts are also questioning why the ACIP and CDC would make this recommendation. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor Dr. Marty Makary spoke out against the decision, telling America Reports that this will erode the trust that parents have in well-tested vaccines. He went on to criticize the ACIP for adding a vaccine with little clinical evidence to the childhood immunization schedule.

“Right now, parents are asking where is the clinical data to support this vaccine in young healthy children. For the new omicron vaccine, which is the current vaccine that is being recommended, the human trials were never made public,” Makary explained.

He went on to question how the committee could make this decision with such a lack of transparency.

So far, only California and Washington DC have implemented COVID vaccine mandates for students, though they have both delayed the implementation of the mandate due to parent outrage and logistical issues. Concurrently, there are 21 states that have outright banned student COVID vaccine mandates.

While all 50 states have requirements for childhood vaccinations to attend school, they also have laws in place that allow for exemptions. Every state allows for medical exemptions, 44 states and Washington D.C. grant religious exemptions, and 15 states allow philosophical exemptions based on personal, moral, or other beliefs.