CLEVELAND (WJW) – A CDC advisory panel unanimously voted to add COVID-19 vaccines to the list of recommended vaccinations for children as young as six months.

The announcement led to some questions and confusion Thursday among some parents who wondered if students would now be required to take it in order to attend school.

But Dr. Dave Margolius, Director of Public Health for the city of Cleveland, explained a recommendation is very different from a requirement.

 “This is different from the requirements for kids to go to school such as polio and other vaccines important for kids to get before they go to school, but the COVID vaccine at this time is just a recommendation,” said Dr. Margolius.

That’s similar to other vaccines which are recommended and not required, including the flu shot and HPV vaccine.

A spokesperson for Governor Mike DeWine reiterated in a statement that, “In Ohio, there is no state mandate for COVID-19 vaccinations.”

However, “Governor DeWine encourages those eligible to stay up to date on their shots in consultation with their healthcare provider.”

In a statement sent to FOX 8, the CDC also confirmed, “no changes in the COVID-19 vaccine policy,” and said the decision was more about “streamlining clinical guidance for healthcare providers.”

“The most important thing from the new recommendation from the CDC is that the COVID vaccines will be part of the Vaccine for Children Program, meaning that those vaccines will be free for children once the public health emergency is over,” said Dr. Margolius. 

The CDC also emphasized that required vaccinations can only be determined by state or local jurisdictions.

This all comes as the Ohio Department of Health is warning of new Omicron beginning to spread in parts of the state.

Health officials say they’re monitoring previous strains as well as the new “BQ 1″ and “BQ 1.1” sub-variants of Omicron.

They say it’s important for people to stay cautious heading into the winter months.

Dr. Margolius agrees, but also says right now things are going well in Cleveland.

“We’re doing really well locally. Cases have continued to go down 10 or 11 weeks in a row and that’s while schools have been in session, so certainly want to reinforce that school is safe for kids even without masks,” said Dr. Margolius. “We’re ready for whatever comes our way in the future.”