Massachusetts Public Health Officials Require Annual Flu Shots for Child Care and All Grades Through College

Massachusetts Public Health Officials Require Annual Flu Shots for Child Care and All Grades Through College

On Aug. 19, 2020, Massachusetts public health officials announced that all children six months of age and older who are attending child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12 and colleges and universities in Massachusetts will be required to get the influenza vaccine “to reduce flu-related illness and ​the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.”1 Although as of August 2020, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York City require annual flu shots for children enrolled in child care and pre-K school, Massachusetts is the first state to also require influenza vaccinations for all students attending kindergarten, primary and secondary schools and colleges and universities.

Deadline to Get the Influenza Vaccine is December 31, 2020

Students in Massachusetts will be required to show proof of influenza vaccination by Dec. 31, 2020 for the 2020/2021 influenza season to attend child care or school unless a valid medical or religious exemption is provided.2 Exempt from this requirement are K-12 students who are homeschooled and higher education students who do not go on campus and are engaged in distance education only.3

This new vaccination requirement to register for school in January 2020 is in addition to existing vaccine requirements recommended by the U.S. Center for Control and Disease Preventions’ (CDC) Childhood Vaccination Schedule for all those students attending childcare, preschool, K-12, and colleges and universities in Massachusetts.4

Students Educated at Home During Pandemic Not Exempted

Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are participating in remote education at home during the coronavirus pandemic declaration are not exempt from the annual flu shot requirement.5 The parents of approximately 30 percent of public school students have opted for their children to participate in at-home remote-only learning, raising questions about how school district officials plan to enforce the vaccine requirement for students who are not attending classes in schools but are being educated at home.6

For adult college and university students, the influenza vaccination requirement applies to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students under 30 years of age and all full-time and part-time health science students. The requirement includes foreign students attending or visiting classes or educational programs in Massachusetts as part of an academic visitation or exchange program. The only exception is for college and university students who exclusively attend classes online and never visit the campus in person. College students who attend any classes or activities on campus, even once, must be vaccinated by Dec. 31, 2020.7

Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, said the requirement will extend beyond the coronavirus pandemic declaration and be permanent in the future, requiring all students from day care enrollment to graduation from college to get influenza vaccines annually.8

Public Health Officials Say Flu Shot Mandate Justified by Fears of COVID-19 Surge in The Fall

Massachusetts public health officials say that the new influenza vaccine requirement is a result of their concern that infection rates of COVID-19 may surge again in the fall when more schools and businesses reopen in the state. They fear that concurrent outbreaks of influenza and COVID-19 could overwhelm the state’s health care system and maintain that, by requiring annual influenza vaccines for all students, it will ease the potential burden on the state’s health care system by decreasing influenza cases. They argue that giving annual flu shots to all children and students from six months old through college age will allow health care workers to spend less time trying to figure out whether symptoms such as fevers and coughs are influenza cases or COVID-19 cases.9

According to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, “I would hope people would understand this is an important part of how we continue to fight the coronavirus here in Massachusetts. The more people who get the flu shot don’t get the flu and don’t wind up in the ER.”10

Massachusetts Residents Protest Against Government Overreach

In response to the influenza vaccine requirement, parents in Massachusetts are protesting the new law. They cite the well-known poor effectiveness of influenza vaccine that has been acknowledged by federal public health officials for many years, with vaccine effectiveness ranging from 10 to 60 percent since 2004.11

According to a parent Jennifer Gaskin of Worcester, Massachusetts, “I understand why this mandate was put in place given the current pandemic and potential impact on hospitals. However, I think it is morally wrong to take away the right to a choice for parents for a vaccination that has minimal efficacy in most cases.”12

She adds that, “This is a very slippery slope and raises concerns that we may be further mandated to give our children the COVID-19 vaccine, which would not have been fully tested prior to release. We wouldn’t know long-term effects or anything based on the proposed timelines.”13

Candice Edwards, executive director of Health Choice 4 Action Massachusetts who has been leading lobbying efforts in opposition to bills relating to vaccines and exemptions, said that medical decisions should be made by a patient or parent and a physician, not by public health officials. Health Choice 4 Action Massachusetts said the organization will be signing a petition to repeal the annual influenza vaccination requirement for all children attending child care and schools in the state.14


References:

1 Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Flu Vaccine Now Required for all Massachusetts School Students Enrolled in Child Care, Pre-School, K-12, and Post-Secondary Institutions. Aug. 19, 2020.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
6 Lazar K, Freyer F. Flu shot mandate for Mass. students leaves key questions unanswered. Boston Globe Aug. 20, 2020.
7 See Footnote 1.
8 See Footnote 6.
9 Ibid.
10 Ibid.
11 U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Past Seasons Vaccine Effectiveness Estimates 2004-2018 (Influenza Vaccine). Jan. 29, 2020.
12 Hanson M. ‘This is a very slippery slope;’ some Massachusetts residents say flu shot requirement for students wrongfully takes choice away from families. MassLive.com Aug. 20, 2020.
13 Ibid.
14 Ibid.

17 Responses to "Massachusetts Public Health Officials Require Annual Flu Shots for Child Care and All Grades Through College"

  1. Tess   September 1, 2020 at 8:49 am

    This is a disgraceful abuse of authority. No one should be forced to have a flu vaccine – especially when there are KNOWN risks involved with every ‘dose’.

    Reply
  2. Nancy E Carroll   September 1, 2020 at 10:21 am

    n.carroll1968aol.com I totally agree

    Reply
  3. Nancy E Carroll   September 1, 2020 at 10:21 am

    I totally agree

    Reply
    • Nancy E Carroll   September 1, 2020 at 3:40 pm

      In correctIon of my response I meant I do not totally agree with giving children the flu shot without parents consent.
      I agree with fighting this.

      Reply
    • Nancy E Carroll   September 1, 2020 at 3:42 pm

      I agree

      Reply
  4. Lawrence Greenberg   September 1, 2020 at 10:53 am

    “In response to the influenza vaccine requirement, parents in Massachusetts are protesting the new law. They cite the well-known poor effectiveness of influenza vaccine that has been acknowledged by federal public health officials for many years, with vaccine effectiveness ranging from 10 to 60 percent since 2004.”

    They should also make mention of the large number of adverse reactions to the influenza vaccine every year, often leaving victims permanently injured or even dead.

    Reply
  5. Mary   September 1, 2020 at 11:18 am

    It seems that vaccines are likely to get even more dangerous over all since they want to mandate more and more.

    I think the flu vaccine is only 10% effective this year. Year may not be correct.

    Yes, it does vary year by year depending on how well their guesses of what particular strains will be active at any particular time.

    Reply
    • Shawn Siegel   September 2, 2020 at 8:46 am

      As with all attempts to mirror a natural immune response to an infectious illness that naturally spreads through respiration by injecting the respective antigen(s), it will fail, and confuse and thwart the proper function of the immune system in the failing. The basest insult of the vaccine industry is its misrepresentation of the process of infectious illness as an enemy, when it instead is the essential means of cleanse and recovery the body has available in response to infection.

      Reply
  6. Susan E Jones   September 1, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    People should not be forced to receive these vaccinations. Flu vaccines are never very effective at reducing incidence of flu but are exceedingly effective at producing high profits for the vaccine producers. It’s sad that people don’t take vitamin D3 tablets instead not only to guard against cold and flu but to provide other health benefits as well.

    Reply
  7. Tracy   September 1, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    People of Massachusetts “NOW” is the time to stand up for your rights as a parent as well as a FREE person of the United States Of America. This Government Overreach has to be STOPPED!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  8. sharon   September 1, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    I stand with the parents in Massachusetts in protest against mandated influenza vaccines for all children six months through college. WHY are these “Public Health Officials?” not recommending safety, healthy nutrition, exercise, immune system boosting supplements, Vitamin C, etc., for ALL ages. WHAT has happened to preventive health care? Vaccines with mercury, aluminum, neurotoxins, fetal cells, monkey cells, bacteria, etc., are not healthy for ANYONE and sometimes fatal, or with vaccine permanent injuries, or autoimmune diseases, and NOW GMO Frankenstein vaccines being produced to change human DNA, and RNA. The Medical Profession has seemingly forgotten the Hippocratic Oath they took to enter the field of Medicine and instead the human population has been reduced down to being “lab rats” for science experiments. WHAT HAPPENED? Is this not ALL ABOUT CONTROL of the populace? Our oath is to Creator GOD who created our life to be whole and healthy if we respect our bodies with good healthy intentions for living a long healthy productive life, not to be a recipient of toxins, poisons, and lethal injections. The number of recommended vaccines per individual in a lifetime is egregious and extremely dangerous path and most likely a precursor for many rare systemic diseases that impair normal functioning and/or new devastating developmental disorders in this generation and the next generations to come. Eugenics Gene Extinction Technology, Transhumanism, Robotics, GMO Vaccines altering forever our human DNA and RNA, etc., We need to protect our United States Constitution and remember Amendment 14 to resist the NWO Globalist Planned Agenda and very dangerous government overreach. The Medical and Religious Exemption must be kept in place for all populace without intimidation, severe reprimand, reproach, repudiation, or strapping control imposed by unconstitutional force. Our children and children’s children must be provided for and protected against harm and endangerment of unproven and unsafe vaccines as well as the NWO Globalist Agenda, and UN infringement on our human unalienable God given rights – that cannot be taken away. Three crucial rights, the rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Reply
  9. Theresa Stone   September 1, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    I do not support the Massachusetts mandate .I support health choice. My body, my choice. Parents are in charge of their children not DPH and the government. Shame on all of them to think that we will comply! Coercion and bullying will not work! We have constitutional rights. It is not a proven or safe vaccine and we all know this!
    Thank you…

    Reply
  10. JoDe   September 1, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    According to the Patients Bill of Rights in the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) number (6): It is unlawful for you to be forced into any medical intervention.

    Reply
  11. JOSEPH KUHN   September 1, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    A mandatory vaccine resulted in extreme brain damage to my two year old son.Often I wonder if the results were worse than a death sentence as I watch him struggle through life with life long learning disabilities

    Reply
  12. Nancy   September 1, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Parents should have choice right to decide on flu shot.

    Reply
  13. Shawn Siegel   September 2, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Thank God for the little things, eh?, in the inclusion in the announcement of the acknowledgement of the religious exemption. Virginia’s ostensibnly behind the legal eight ball – the flu shot mandate threatened by their health commissioner is backed by the authority given him in their medical emergency statutes.

    Reply
  14. Nathalie   September 2, 2020 at 10:54 am

    This is not realy new, Massachusetts always had a “mandate” for yearly flu vaccine (I worked in hospitals in MA for several years) but you could easily opt out (as I did every year except 1, the only year I got sick with the flu- go figure!). What are the options to refuse the vaccine?
    I wonder if any of those “officials” ever think about the impact on the economy and the future with such decisions? what would happen if everyone take their kids out of school or decice not to enroll in on-campus colleges and universities??? many major cities in Mass are heavily dependent economically with attendance to colleges and universities!! are they really going to catapult the economy in a black hole?

    Reply

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