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Flu Vaccine Mandatory For New Jersey Children

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, January 05, 2009 12:20 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Influenza, FDA and Precription Drugs, Thimerosal, Mercury, Vaccines, Flu

Mandated flu shots in New Jersey, the first state to do so for children.



IMAGE SOURCE: ©iStockphoto/ child getting shot/ author: RB Fried


Toddlers and little children returning to school this week will unknowingly become the focus of an emotional debate between public health advocates and child health advocates.

December 31st was the deadline for parents to obtain flu vaccines for their children in New Jersey, the first state to require the inoculations, despite objections by many parents who worry about the risks association with vaccinations.

“Stopping flu transmission among kids will stop flu transmission in the community at large,” said Dr. Tina Tan, the state epidemiologist to the New York Times.  

Children impacted are those between the ages of six months and five years. They must be enrolled in a licensed day care or preschool problem.  Unless there is proof they have received the flu shot, they will be excluded from school.

A lag time of two weeks will be extended to allow children to schedule a doctor’s visit , said state health officials.

Children were targeted as they are likely to spread influenza among themselves and other adults. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 86 children died from flu-related complications.

This is not the only vaccine required in New Jersey. Preschoolers must be inoculated against the germ that causes pneumonia; sixth graders must receive a vaccine against meningitis and a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster.

Parents have banded together to protest the mandate. New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice held a rally in Trenton, New Jersey insisting that parents be the ones who decide on their children’s vaccination schedule, not the state.  

“There’s a huge trust gap between parents and public health officials right now,” said Louise Kuo Habakus, who is a parent and spokeswoman for the group. “These are our kids. We’re stakeholders. You have to give us a say in this debate.”

There is currently not any exemption for parents who feel strongly their children shouldn’t fall under the mandate. The group supports the passage of A260/S1071, legislation that will provide a conscientious belief exemption to mandatory vaccination.  

The Food and Drug Administration has a list of which influenza vaccines contain the mercury based preservative, thimerosal. A check of their web site can help parents identify which have no thimerosal or trace amounts, though no safe level for thimerosal has been established.

On the other side of the issue, Families Fighting Flu Inc. is a group of parents who lost their young children suddenly to influenza. #  


Anonymous User
Posted by Sally
Tuesday, January 06, 2009 8:36 PM EST

New Jersey has both a medical and religious exemption form parents can simply sign to avoid vaccinations.
I really don't get how the state can mandate a vaccine for this age group when NO PACKAGE INSERT IN ANY FLU VACCINE IS RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN UNDER 6 YEARS OF AGE! It says in only one that ages 6 and up can get it. One is 8 years and up and the rest are adults over 18 years. Parents have the right to read the package insert before any shot is given.

Anonymous User
Posted by Kevin
Monday, January 12, 2009 8:36 PM EST

I'd like to know where I can find this form. I've done exhaustive research and have not been able to find it. I would like to claim religious exemption for my 4 year old.

Posted by Lisa
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 8:27 PM EST

There is no standard form for a religious exemption in NJ - parents or guardians need to write a letter stating how vaccinations conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Anonymous User
Posted by Ryan
Monday, January 19, 2009 8:39 PM EST

THERE IS NO LAW for madatory vaccines, DON'T take them.

Anonymous User
Posted by Andy
Monday, January 26, 2009 10:07 PM EST

Kevin - from what I understand, you simply have to write a concise letter to your child's school stating that your religious beliefs prevent you from injecting your child with such preservatives, etc.

Anonymous User
Posted by Colleen
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 10:22 AM EST

My grandson's preschool will NOT accept a written letter from the parents stating that they have religious exemptions, they need to have something written on their churches letterhead signed by the priest, minister, etc and if it's for medical reasons,it has to be on the doctor's letterhead signed by the doctor w/the reason why. They will not accept a letter from the parent simply saying that they object to the flu and pnuemonia shot. Yet, other preschools in the area will just accept a letter from the parent stating the above reasons. There is not set "rules" on this and yet the schools can toss the child out if they law for the mandatory shots, I thought there was and that is what's causing all this commotion? We have til the end of this week to get my grandson the shot or he's out and his doctor does NOT have anymore and are not getting anymore in. Besides the fact, we're really not too sure that we even want to give it to him.

Posted by NJAICV
Sunday, February 01, 2009 12:15 PM EST

Your grandson's preschool must follow the law. The NJDHSS recently issued a memo with clarifications on the law. LINK Your religion is a private matter. Know your rights. Learn more at LINK

Comments for this article are closed.

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