Truth Frequency Radio
Jan 03, 2015


New York City Requiring Flu Shots for Preschoolers

New York City preschoolers will be heading back to class next week with memories of new holiday toys, vacation adventures, and, health officials hope, a flu shot.

In fact, because of a new city requirement, young children can, for the first time in the city’s history, be excluded from class if they have not received a flu vaccination.

The new rule, which applies to some 150,000 children in city-licensed day care centers and preschools, was quietly adopted by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in the waning days of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration. This is the first flu season during which it applies. New York City joins New Jersey and Connecticut in implementing a mandatory flu vaccine for children between 6 months and 5 years of age.


Beginning in 2016, the city will charge fines ranging from $200 to $2,000 to schools whose students do not follow the rule. (This year is a grace period during which the city will check vaccination records but not penalize schools.) The city, however, cannot force principals or school directors to exclude children who do not comply, because the flu vaccine is not mandated by the state. Instead, it will be up to each school to determine whether to exclude unvaccinated children, or alternatively, incur the fines.


At a meeting in early December between health officials and religious-school administrators, for example, some school leaders reported significant resistance from parents against the new regulation, in part because the parents said their children’s doctors were telling them the vaccine was unnecessary.


In December, the city’s health board voted unanimously in favor of the flu vaccination rule, which does not apply to older children. […]

Among them was Kim Mack Rosenberg, the president of the New York metro chapter of the National Autism Association. She believes that vaccinations may contribute to autism, though no link has been proven.

“It is a requirement that is putting a burden on children and no one else,” she said this week. “Adults aren’t generally required to get the flu vaccine, and we are asking our most vulnerable children to get it.”

On rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. A report from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program states that there have been 1,633 claims of injury and 81 claims of death attributed to flu vaccines in all age groups since 2005, of which 924 have been compensated. But federal officials stress that such settlements are not an admission that the vaccine caused the injury.

There are also concerns about the vaccine’s efficacy. In an average year, the vaccine is about 60 percent effective. Because of evolving strains of the virus, it is expected to be less so this year, the C.D.C. said.