New Jersey recently implemented a policy that requires children aged six months to five years to be vaccinated against the flu if they attend a child-care center or preschool. This policy was approved by the state’s Public Health Council last December following recommendations from the CDC. Under the terms of the policy, children have until Dec. 31 to receive the flu vaccine and a pneumococcal vaccine. No other state has made the shots mandatory for children of any age. New Jersey’s state policy does allow for medical and religious exemptions to mandatory vaccinations.
Read more after the jump.
According to the Washington Post, people on both sides of the issue are getting worked up. One the one side, parents assert that they “have a right to decide for their own children what is injected in their bodies.” Opposition leaders have come out with their own legislation permitting conscientious objection to the mandatory vaccination.
Public health officials have opposed the opposition legislation stating: “Broad exemptions to mandatory vaccination weaken the entire compliance and enforcement structure.”
Flu kills about 47,000 Americans a year and hospitalizes about 200,000. Although children make up a small fraction of the victims, they are considered to transmit the disease to family members and elderly who are far likelier to have serious health consequences from the disease.