STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Last week, a CDC committee voted in favor of adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the recommended immunization schedule for children and adults.
Chickenpox, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines are all required for children heading to school in Pennsylvania.
But a CDC advisory committee is now recommending adding COVID vaccines to the list of routine childhood immunizations for next year.
Parents and grandparents we spoke with in the Stroudsburg area are not on board.
"I don't agree with it. I think the children are healthy," Sherri Lyon said. "They get their colds or whatever, but I don't think it's necessary."
"As far as just forcing it on our children, I don't feel that's right. I think it should be left up to the parent to decide if they want that for their children. We have dealt with COVID twice. My daughter has been fine both times," Brooke Marchini said.
Dr. Nathan Hagstrom is the physician-in-chief of Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital. He says each state establishes vaccine requirements for school attendance, not the CDC.
Currently, there is no guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
"It doesn't mean that it's going to be mandated. That's up to the states, and I would guess they won't mandate it. You know, the flu vaccine is very similar. It's been recommended as part of your routine childhood vaccinations for many years, but it's not mandated in most states," Dr. Hagstrom said.
Dr. Hagstrom says while children have the lowest rates of hospitalization and death from the coronavirus, he believes this is being recommended to stop the spread.
"The CDC isn't just thinking about the individual who's receiving the vaccine and how it's affecting them, but also on a public level how the more vaccinated people you have in the community, the less likely there is to have a disease spreading, and therefore reaching somebody who is at high risk for diseases."
Updated schedules and program guidance from the CDC will be published in early 2023.
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