FACT FOCUS: States, not CDC, set school vaccine requirements

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee on Thursday voted that the company ought to replace its really useful immunization schedules so as to add the COVID-19 vaccine, together with to the schedule for youngsters.

But within the lead-up to the vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, false claims unfold extensively that it will imply the vaccine can be required to attend school.

In actuality, the CDC doesn’t have the authority to set school immunization requirements, and the vote doesn’t mandate the vaccine for schoolchildren. That’s a call left to the states.

Here are the details.

CLAIM: If the CDC provides the COVID-19 vaccine to the immunization schedule for youngsters, the pictures can be necessary to attend school.

THE FACTS: The false declare gained momentum after it was shared by Fox News host Tucker Carlson this week.

“The CDC is about to add the Covid vaccine to the childhood immunization schedule, which would make the vax mandatory for kids to attend school,” Carlson tweeted on Tuesday evening. The tweet included a section from his present during which he started by making the identical declare.

Another in style tweet equally claimed the CDC committee’s vote would make the vaccine “mandatory for school registration.”

But the general public well being company doesn’t decide school vaccine requirements.

“States have the authority to enact state laws requiring vaccination, not the CDC,” mentioned Wendy Mariner, a professor emerita of well being legislation, ethics and human rights at Boston University. “ACIP has no authority to make law.”

CDC spokesperson Kate Grusich informed The Associated Press in an e-mail that the company “only makes recommendations for use of vaccines, while school-entry vaccination requirements are determined by state or local jurisdictions.”

Grusich defined that the motion was meant to streamline scientific steering for healthcare suppliers by including COVID-19 vaccines to a single record of all at present licensed, approved and routinely really useful vaccines.

“It’s important to note that there are no changes in COVID-19 vaccine policy,” she mentioned.

The immunization practices advisory committee is a physique of consultants that makes suggestions to the CDC about vaccines. Its suggestion to replace the schedules, which included different revisions, nonetheless must be formally adopted by the company and the amended schedules wouldn’t take impact till 2023, Grusich mentioned.

Fox News referred the AP to a follow-up section by Carlson on Wednesday evening, during which he revisited the subject and claimed the CDC was “lying.” Carlson claimed that “more than a dozen states follow the CDC’s immunization schedule to set vaccination requirements — not suggestions, requirements — for children to be educated.”

“For example, the Virginia Department of Health states that ‘vaccines must be administered in accordance with the CDC’s schedule,’” he acknowledged. He cited Massachusetts as one other instance.

But these states do not record each vaccine from the schedule of their school requirements.

Virginia, for instance, does not require the annual flu vaccine to be able to attend school — though the vaccine seems on the CDC’s schedule. Nor does Massachusetts.

A Virginia Department of Health spokesperson, Maria Reppas, mentioned in an e-mail that there “is no direct, immediate impact on COVID-19 vaccine being added to the Immunization Schedule on school required vaccines in Virginia.” Reppas mentioned adjustments to the school requirements would want legislative or regulatory motion.

Dr. William Schaffner, a vaccine coverage skilled and professor of infectious illnesses at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, mentioned he was not conscious of any states that routinely require all vaccines on the schedule for school.

“Those are recommendations that go to pediatricians and family doctors as they care for children,” Schaffner mentioned. “They’re just recommendations, there are no automatic mandates that follow.”

There has additionally been reluctance by many states to require the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine, though it seems on the childhood schedule, Schaffner mentioned.

States can use laws to require particular vaccines or can authorize a state company or native well being entity to require particular vaccines for sure age teams, Mariner mentioned. She added that some states embody non-public colleges when establishing requirements, although in different instances, non-public colleges may additionally voluntarily require vaccinations.


This is a part of AP’s effort to deal with extensively shared misinformation, together with work with exterior corporations and organizations so as to add factual context to deceptive content material that’s circulating on-line. Learn extra about fact-checking at AP.

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