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Indiana unlikely to add COVID-19 to list of required children's vaccines

Three middle school children are pictured wearing masks.
Alan Mbathi
IPB News
COVID-19 vaccines for kids 12 and older were approved in May 2021. Pfizer's emergency use authorization was expanded to 5- to 11-years-olds in November 2021. And the Food and Drug Administration authorized pediatric vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer for children as young as 6 months in June 2022.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel recently recommended that state officials add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of routine immunizations for children.

But it’s unlikely Indiana will do so.

Indiana law mandates a list of required immunizations for children in elementary and high school. That includes polio, measles, mumps, pertussis, hepatitis and meningitis.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said, with the COVID-19 vaccine, he’s avoided mandates.

“I’ve always sought to offer, not order, when it comes to that,” Holcomb said.

READ MORE: Kids as young as 6 months could get COVID-19 vaccines soon in Indiana

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Holcomb acknowledged that the General Assembly will consider any public health recommendations when it meets in January.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) declined to comment. But House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said he doesn’t plan to add COVID-19 to the list of required immunizations.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.