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The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted Thursday to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the 2023 childhood and adult immunization schedule. However, two key Alabama elected officials have assured concerned parents that the vaccine will not be included in the regularly scheduled vaccines for children.

Though the committee's recommendations can be used as guidelines, it is ultimately up to individual states whether to implement any suggestions.

Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office released a public notice, reminding citizens of a 2021 act that offers protection in this area.

"The CDC’s vote this week on child immunizations and the COVID-19 vax will not impact Alabamians," Marshall said in a tweet linking to the public notice.

In 2021, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law prohibiting public and private education institutions from requiring students to prove any new immunization status as a condition of attendance.

According to Marshall, even though the ACIP's recommendation includes religious exemptions, it would not be needed, as the act prohibits schools from requiring the COVID vaccine.

Likewise, the Alabama Department of Public Health released a statement clearing up misconceptions.

“The ACIP’s vote to include COVID-19 in VFC [Vaccines For Children] is the mechanism to ensure that, when COVID-19 vaccine is no longer provided free by the federal government, uninsured and underinsured children can have access to the vaccine without charge,” the ADPH statement read. “Including COVID-19 vaccine under VFC is not a mandate for children to take the vaccine.”

“Vaccines required for a Certificate of Immunization for K-12 in Alabama are diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). Children attending preschool are also required to have Haemophilis influenza type B (Hib) and pneumococcal vaccines.” 

Ivey also took to social media to assure citizens that the vaccine would never be a requirement for Alabama children.

"Here in Alabama, the parents make decisions when it comes to their children’s health care. We do NOT mandate the covid shot for kids – nor will we ever," her tweet read.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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