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CDC updating immunization schedules early to speed up insurance payment

September 22, 2023

Editor's note: The CDC updated the schedules on Sept. 28. The addendum with recently added vaccine recommendations for children and adolescents is at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be updating its immunization schedules for children and adults next week in an effort to speed up insurance payment for newly recommended vaccines.

For children and adolescents, this means adding immunization recommendations for COVID, respiratory syncytial virus, flu, poliovirus and pneumococcal disease that were approved in the past few months.

Traditionally, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approves the schedules in October, then partner organizations do so in November and December, and the schedules are published in February.

However, the timing impacts insurance payment and the ability of certain health care providers to administer immunizations in some states. The CDC also said health care providers referring to the schedule may not be aware of recommendations made after its publication.

AAP members have reported some Vaccines for Children programs are providing only the new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV20, and some vaccine buying groups are directing people to use this vaccine over other pneumococcal vaccines. Because PCV20 is not yet in the immunization schedule, there have been payment denials and delays in Tricare coverage for children in military families, Sean T. O’Leary, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, said at Friday’s ACIP meeting.

“Timely updates to the immunization schedule would provide pediatricians with an authoritative source for the latest immunization recommendations, which is invaluable at the point of care to maximize every opportunity to vaccinate,” he said.

When the CDC releases the updated schedules next week, they have new addenda listing recommendations that have been approved since October 2022. The updates will be applied to the website, PDF and mobile app. The CDC also plans to update the entirety of the schedule after the ACIP vote in October. Long term, it is looking at sustainable approaches to ensure the schedule remains current, and officials said they would ensure partner engagement.

Numerous medical organizations in addition to the AAP spoke in favor of the changes.

“It is imperative that the schedule be updated, approved and published as quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary delays in implementation,” Jason M. Goldman, M.D., FACP, said on behalf of the American College of Physicians. “ … Lack of insurance coverage creates unnecessary barriers to access to care and further exacerbates health care disparities as uninsured and underinsured patients will not have access to these vaccines.”




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