The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sets the U.S. childhood immunization schedule based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) — a group of medical and public health experts. This schedule also is approved by some of the nation’s top medical doctors at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. To develop recommendations for each vaccine, ACIP works year-round, reviewing available data on new and existing vaccines and diseases.
The information ACIP reviews for each vaccine always includes:
- The safety and effectiveness of the vaccine when given at specific ages: Only vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration are recommended, and vaccine makers must conduct detailed tests to show that a vaccine is safe and effective at specific ages.
- The severity of the disease: Vaccines recommended for children prevent diseases that can be serious for them, potentially causing long-term health problems or death.
- How many children get the disease if there is no vaccine: Vaccines that do not provide benefit to many children may not be recommended.
- The differences in how well a vaccine works for children of different ages: The ability of vaccines to help the body produce immunity can vary depending on the age of the child receiving the vaccine.
Learn more about ACIP considerations in the vaccine recommendation process, including recommended ages for administration of various vaccines to children.