The COVID vaccine will now be available for pre-licensure vaccination, allowing parents to choose whether they want their children vaccinated before school begins, and which vaccines to receive at home, according to a new statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new guidance was released Monday by the department’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“Parents are advised to discuss all vaccination options with their child’s primary care provider before they schedule a vaccination appointment for the new year,” the statement said.
“The vaccine schedule and timing is subject to change during the 2017–2018 influenza season.”
This means that parents who choose to vaccinate their children before school starts on New Year’s Day can choose to have their children inoculated before the start of the school year, instead of waiting until December 31, when schools are scheduled to reopen.
“When making an informed choice about vaccination, parents should ask the following questions,” the CDC said.
First, what is the best vaccine schedule for your child?
If your child is 6 years old or younger, what should be included in the vaccine schedule?
Is it recommended that the vaccine be given at the same time?
Is the vaccine required at the end of each month?
Is there a longer-term plan to ensure your child gets vaccinated throughout the year?
Second, which vaccines are recommended for the age group of your child and what other vaccines might be a better choice for your children?
Third, what are the risks of vaccination?
Do you want to know if your child has received the vaccine?
Are there any other vaccines you can take for yourself or your child, or do you want your child to receive vaccines for themselves?
Fourth, do you have any questions about vaccination?
For children who are age 3 and younger, the vaccine is recommended for those who are 3 months or younger and who have no other medical conditions, according the CDC.
For children age 4 and younger who are 4 months or older and who are having symptoms of COVID, the CDC says they should receive the vaccine as soon as possible.
“Children with other health conditions may not be able to receive the recommended vaccine,” the vaccine statement reads.
The CDC also recommends parents to discuss their options for vaccinating their children with their primary care providers before they vaccinate the rest of their family.
“To be sure that all options are being considered and evaluated, parents can review all vaccines with their pediatrician or primary care physician,” the guidance said.
“In many cases, parents may want to have the vaccination at the start and at the conclusion of the season, but this is also an important time to discuss vaccination options, and if necessary, choose a different vaccine for the whole family,” the guidelines continued.