COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The COVID-19 vaccine is one step closer to being added to the recommended immunization schedule for children and adults — but it won’t affect Ohio’s vaccine requirements.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of recommended immunizations at its annual meeting on Oct. 20. But the list is a non-binding recommendation — vaccine requirements for schools and other places are determined by state or local governments.
Dr. Ben Bring, a family and sports medicine doctor with OhioHealth, said the CDC’s recommendation comes at a crucial time — especially when COVID-19 cases are again on the rise. Grouping the COVID-19 vaccine with other, longer-standing ones such as the meningitis and chicken pox vaccines, Bring said, speaks to the COVID-19 vaccine’s significance in stopping the spread of the virus.
“One of the biggest things that we’re seeing from these newer variants is you know things like chronic brain fog, chronic fatigue, even in kids things like tachycardia where your heart beats really, really fast for unknown reasons,” said Bring.
Following the CDC announcement, the Ohio Department of Health released a statement clarifying that COVID-19 vaccines will not be required for school children in the 2023-24 school year.
“The State of Ohio does not mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for school attendance,” the statement read. “The ACIP vote does not change Ohio law. The state’s list of required vaccines can only be changed through legislation.”
Although Bring said he thought eventually mandating the COVID-19 vaccine is the right decision, he recognizes that may still be a while away.
“I think everybody has to make a decision for themselves, for their family members, what’s right for them — and everybody responds to vaccines differently,” said Bring.
As the temperatures begin to fall, Bring says the community could see other virus outbreaks — including new COVID-19 variants and the flu.
For a full list of recommended immunization schedules for children and adults in 2022, go to the CDC website. The updated recommendations — which will include the COVID-19 vaccine — will be available in early 2023, according to the CDC.