ACIP adds COVID vaccine to pediatric immunization schedule
The vaccine advisory group for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today approved changes to the child and adolescent immunization schedule, which adds COVID-19 vaccine to the recommended immunizations. The recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) passed on a unanimous 15-to-0 vote.
The vote came a day after ACIP approved adding COVID vaccines to the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which provides free vaccines to children who don't have health insurance or who can't afford them.
Ahead of the vaccine schedule vote today, some media outlets falsely claimed that the ACIP's vote would mandate the COVID vaccine for school children, according to the Washington Post. However, states decide what vaccines are required for school attendance.
States often use the CDC's immunization schedule as a guide, but not all states require all vaccines that are on the CDC's vaccine schedule. Currently, only California and the District of Columbia have COVID vaccine requirements for school attendance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Few states require flu shots.
Oct 20 ACIP webcast
Oct 19 Washington Post story
NCSL background information
Study: 7% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 had neurologic problems
Today in Pediatrics, a study of more than 15,000 US children hospitalized with COVID-19 finds that 7.0% had neurologic complications such as seizures or encephalopathy.
A team led by Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt researchers assessed length of hospital stay, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, 30-day readmission, death, and medical costs of 15,137 COVID-19 patients aged 2 months to 18 years released from 52 children's hospitals from March 2020 to March 2022. A total of 37.1% of the patients had a pre-existing complex chronic condition, and 9.8% had one or more neurologic complex chronic conditions.
Seven percent of the children had COVID-related neurologic complications, the most common of which were febrile (fever-related) seizures (3.9%), nonfebrile seizures (2.3%), and encephalopathy (2.2%), a broad term meaning damage or disease to the brain.
Patients with neurologic complications had more ICU admissions (29.8 vs 21.8 days) and longer ICU stays (3.2 vs 2.5 days) and were more likely than those without neurologic complications to die in the hospital (1.8% vs 0.6%). They also had more 30-day readmissions, longer hospital stays, and higher hospital costs.
Factors tied to lower odds of neurologic complications were younger age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.97), infection during Delta variant predominance (aOR, 0.71), and presence of a chronic complex non-neurologic condition (aOR, 0.80). The presence of a chronic complex neurologic condition was linked to a higher likelihood of neurologic complications (aOR, 4.14).
The study authors noted that neurologic complications also occur in pediatric patients infected with other respiratory viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus and influenza.
"Neurologic complications are common in children hospitalized with COVID-19 and are associated with worse hospital outcomes," they wrote. "Our findings emphasize the importance of COVID-19 immunization in children, especially in high-risk populations, such as those with neurologic comorbidity."
Oct 20 Pediatrics study
Survey finds high flu, COVID-19 vaccine uptake among healthcare workers
A survey conducted by the CDC shows that nearly 80% of healthcare providers (HCPs) received a flu shot during the 2021-22 influenza season, more than 87% had completed the primary COVID-19 vaccine series, and 67% had received a booster dose.
The results, published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), come from an opt-in online panel survey of 3,618 healthcare workers fielded from Mar 29 to Apr 19, 2022.
Flu and COVID-19 vaccine uptake was lowest among assistants and aides, those working in long-term care (LTC) and home health, and those whose employer didn't mandate or recommend the vaccines.
"Implementing workplace strategies to improve vaccination coverage among HCPs, particularly those working in LTC/home health care settings, can help ensure that HCPs and their patients are protected against severe flu and COVID-19," the researchers wrote.
Oct 20 MMWR study