By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel voted Thursday to add the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of recommended shots to attend public school, but Wyoming isn’t taking the recommendation.
The vote was unanimous in favor.
The CDC’s guidance on school vaccines is non-binding, however, and ultimately states have the final say on whether to require a vaccination for school children.
“Wyoming has no plans to pursue adding COVID vaccine to its required (school) list,” said Michael Pearlman, Gov. Mark Gordon’s spokesman, in a text to Cowboy State Daily. “The governor has not mandated vaccines for adults or children, and believes that COVID-19 vaccination is a personal choice.”
Health Dept. Concurs
The Wyoming Department of Health also said it has no plans to add the shot to the school schedule.
Kim Deti, spokeswoman for the department, noted that both the CDC and the state already recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for eligible children, so the federal panel’s addition of a school recommendation “isn’t a big change.”
There are other vaccines recommended by the CDC and the state Department of Health that nevertheless are not required to attend Wyoming schools, Deti said.
Children 6-months and older are eligible to receive the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations. Children 5 and older are eligible for the omicron variant booster.
Possibly a more substantive change, the CDC adjusted their list so that when the shots are no longer free to everyone, low-income children can receive COVID-19 vaccines through the existing federal program at no cost, said Deti.
She said she did not know when the vaccinations would stop being free, as that is a federal decision.