The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its recommendations for routine immunisations in children and adults to include covid-19 vaccines
10 February 2023
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added covid-19 vaccines to its recommended immunisation schedules for children, adolescents and adults.
Immunisation schedules summarise CDC recommendations on vaccines to help inform healthcare providers. They are not mandatory and do not establish vaccine requirements for workplaces or schools, although many schools adapt these guidelines for their students.
The agency now recommends that children between 6 months and 12 years old without underlying health conditions receive two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine, followed by a third dose of a bivalent vaccine, which targets both the original strain and newer omicron subvariants. Moderna’s bivalent booster is approved for use in children 6 months and older while Pfizer-BioNTech’s is available for those 5 years and older. Children who are immunocompromised should receive three doses, not two, of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine followed by a bivalent booster.
Adolescents between 12 and 18 years old should get either two doses of these vaccines or the Novavax vaccine, followed by a bivalent booster, the CDC now recommends. For adults, those without underlying health conditions should receive two doses of either the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Novavax vaccine and a bivalent booster. Adults who do not wish or cannot get a bivalent vaccine may opt for the Novavax booster, which only targets the original covid-19 strain. Those who are immunocompromised should receive three doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or two doses of the Novavax vaccine, followed by a bivalent booster.
The update presents covid-19 vaccines in the same way as any other routinely recommended immunisation. “This, in a sense, helps normalise 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,” said Neil Murthy and Akpobome Patricia Wodi at the CDC in a statement reported by CNN.
While nearly 70 per cent of people in the US have completed their primary covid-19 vaccine series, less than 16 per cent have received a bivalent booster shot, which targets both the original covid-19 variant and the BA.4/BA.5 omicron subvariants.
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