A New York City Board of Health initiative set to take effect in 30 days will mandate flu shots for all children under the age of six who attend day care or preschool. If the new regulation is enacted as written, flu vaccines will no longer be voluntary for young children, a move which many feel violates parental rights.
With the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city’s Board of Health will soon require children between the age of six months and six years old to submit to flu shots. Parents who oppose the flu vaccine due to potential side effects are infuriated and balking at Bloomberg’s nanny state endeavor. Those opposed to the mandatory flu shots order in NYC often note that young children are already required to undergo multiple vaccinations and adding another “immunization cocktail” increases the possibility of an adverse reaction occurring. Some parents believe flu shots are linked to autism.
Common flu shot side effects include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nasal congestion, itching, headache, fatigue, soreness, fever and coughing. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has acknowledged less common side effects associated with the flu vaccine that include Guillain-Barre Syndrome and “severe allergic reactions.” Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a medical disorder which causes the immune system to attack the nerves. Tingling and weakness in extremities is typically the first symptoms to emerge. The sensations spread quickly and can ultimately cause whole body paralysis. “The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but it is often preceded by an infectious illness such as a respiratory infection or the stomach flu,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg had this to say about mandatory flu vaccines:
“We already do vaccinate kids. It’s required for measles, whopping cough, chicken pox and mumps. Flu, unfortunately, kills more than all of those things put together in kids … So we required it for children five and under at licensed pre-school and daycare centers to get flu shots. Somebody some place, I forget who it was, might have been an elected official, I forget, said, ‘Oh, it causes autism.’ … It is just literally not true. I can tell you what does kill kids is no flu shot. And you know, it’s one of these things that there’s some crazies … And without thinking … you know, I don’t know whether they think it’s cute to go out and yell and scream, but you really hurt people.”
Autism Action Network Executive Director John Gilmore does not agree with Mayor Bloomberg’s statements or the supposed benefits of the flu vaccine. “The Bloomberg administration is wildly exaggerating the benefit of the flu shot and we think they are wildly underestimating the risks involved with it,” Gilmore said. “There are risks associated with every medical procedure,” he said, mentioning allergic reactions and the toxic mercury used as a preservative, Politicker.com reported. Gilmore hopes Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will reverse the policy. Gilmore’s organization held a rally against the mandate.
The autism organization official also stated that the health board is primarily comprised of appointees by Mayor Bloomberg. Although de Blasio has not uttered definitive words of support for the mandatory vaccination, a spokesperson for him did note that the policy is being reviewed by the mayor-elect and he tends to support initiatives which enhance public health.
“This is basically to put the mayor-elect [on alert], make him aware that this is an issue that he’s going to have to deal with it. It’s not going to go away,” Gilmore said. “He is kind of doing this in a stealth fashion. He just proposed this about 6 weeks ago. I don’t think there was any announcement.”
While discussing the mandatory flu shots dictates on a morning radio show, Mayor Bloomberg dismissed the concerns by on anti-vaccine mother who felt such decisions are personal and best left up to parents. “These things don’t ever go away. And when people stop vaccinating, then some kids get it. And afterwards they say, ‘Oh, you know, if I’d only known.’ Well, that’s why you have scientists. Are scientists always right? No, but they’re right a lot more than you and I are as civilians, or whatever non-scientists,” Bloomberg said.
The New York City mayor stated that the woman’s child could adversely impact other children and bring the “disease” home. A Utah teenager died recently after being given the first flu shot of his life. The case is still under investigation. About 150,000 children will be impacted. As the law is currently written, there are only limited exemptions. A child who is allergic to the vaccine could opt out, but it must be “certified by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state.” Connecticut and New Jersey also require flu shots.
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