Who Makes Vaccine Decisions in America?

ACIP submits recommendations to the CDC Director and the U.S. Department of HHS

CDC HQ

There is a volunteer committee who met in Atlanta, Georgia on February 21, 2018, that helps sets vaccine policy in the USA.

Most Americans would assume the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets immunization schedule.

Which it does.

But, who does the CDC rely upon for guidance to make important vaccine decisions?

This ‘behind-the-scenes’ group of health experts is the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The ACIP makes its recommendations to the CDC three times each year.

During the February 2018 meetings, the ACIP published several recommendations for the CDC to consider. 

If the ACIP’s recommendations are approved by the CDC’s Director and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the official CDC recommendations for immunization of the U.S. population are published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

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The ACIP recommendations are for both children and adults, including the age(s) when the vaccine should be given, the number of doses needed, the amount of time between doses, and precautions and contraindications.

The ACIP was established under Section 222 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. § 2l7a) and is governed by its charter. The ACIP includes 15 voting members, selected by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

In addition, the ACIP workgroup includes 8 ex-officio members who represent other federal agencies with responsibility for immunization programs in the United States and 30 non-voting representatives of liaison organizations.

The ACIP’s current leader is Chairman Nancy Bennett, MD, MS, Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences Director, Center for Community Health Co-director, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The ACIP meetings are not secret. They are held at the CDC’s very-secure, Atlanta headquarters.

These sessions are open to the public, but you need to pre-register to attend.

The ACIP calendar and proposed agendas, as well as past meeting minutes and presentations, are posted under ACIP Meetings.