Experts Cast Votes To Decide If COVID Shots Should Be Routinely Recommended By Doctors

During their annual review of recommended routine immunizations, a team of medical advisory experts to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted Thursday to formally recommend that theĀ COVID-19 vaccine and boosters be added to the schedule for adults and children alike, reports NBC News. The recommendation extends to children as young as 6 months old.

The CDC will now decide whether or not to endorse the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendation (per NBC News). However, health officials emphasize that should the COVID vaccines be added to the list of recommended immunizations, it does not mean the public will be required to receive them. Rather, the recommendation serves as a series of guidelines for health practitioners. "I used to look every year, waiting for this vaccine schedule to make sure I was following the best vaccination guidance available," executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Julie Morita, states via NBC News.

Does this mean COVID vaccines are now mandatory?

When it comes to mandatory vaccinations, such as for school enrollment, government officials state that decision is exclusively in the hands of state and local governments. Jen Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, elaborates stating via The Hill, "The CDC guidelines based on public health are there to help inform those decisions, but those are state decisions. And different states make different decisions and nothing about what [the] CDC did changes that."

In addition to offering health professionals guidance on best immunization practices, the annual recommended vaccinations list also serves another purpose: informingĀ health insurance coverage (per The Hill). Dr. Julie Morita explains, telling the publication, "When these vaccines are added to the immunization schedules like this, insurance companies then take up the cost of the vaccines. So when the public health emergency and or the federal resources dry up, insurance companies would then pick up the cost." In the event that the CDC approves the recommendation, the official list would be available in February 2023.