The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has published its adult immunization schedule for 2021, with the addition of COVID-19 vaccination guidance and related recommendations.

Changes this year include a new format and content. A new cover page offers basic instructions on how to use the schedule, along with instructions on how to systematically identify vaccination, links to the CDC’s vaccine schedules app, and access to reference materials on case identification and disease outbreak response.

Also included are interim recommendations for the COVID-19 era. The authors encourage all adults to continue receiving recommended immunizations of all kinds and catch-up vaccines. Doing so is important even if they are following COVID-19 mitigation measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing, the authors advise. Guidance on safe administration of vaccines during the pandemic emphasizes the use of personal protective equipment and physical distancing. 

Other changes include the usual annual tweaks to influenza A and B vaccines and minor changes to the pneumococcal vaccination guidelines. In the case of shingles, the zoster vaccine live (ZVL, or Zostavax) is not included in the guidance because it no longer is sold in the United States as of July 2020. All remaining Zostavax stock expired in November and should not be used, the CDC advised.

An immunization schedule summary is available on the CDC’s website and in the Annals of Long-Term Care. Full, up-to-date recommendations for each vaccine are available here.