Worth A Shot?
A new flu vaccine mandate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
A closer look at what states can legally require (and the power of parents to choose).
What To Know:
Many students are heading back to school as America prepares to confront COVID-19 & flu simultaneously for the first time ever.
In August, Massachusetts instituted a flu vaccine mandate for childcare attendees 6 months and up, K-12 students, and most college & graduate students under 30 by December 31st.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza vaccine will be especially critical to reduce the overall impact of respiratory illness on the population, protect vulnerable populations from severe illness, and decrease the overall burden on the healthcare system.”
Explanation by the Massachusetts gov't about a new influenza vaccine requirement for most students. Medical and religious exemptions are allowed.
The Laws Of The Land
The specifics of each state’s school immunization laws and exemptions vary, but generally speaking:
- Every state allows for medical-related exemptions
- 16 states allow for philosophical exemptions for personal beliefs
- 45 states & DC allow for religious exemptions
- Federal gov’t makes recommendations – not laws or policies – regarding vaccinations and immunizations.
- Your state gov’t sets vaccination requirements for attending school.
- Why? Simply – the federal gov’t is responsible for your national security, and your state for your personal safety.
- Ultimately, parents decide – with some opting for homeschooling.
BIG PICTURE: It's not just Massachusetts. The New Jersey legislature is considering a bill which would mandate flu vaccines for K-12 students. In New Jersey, like a handful of other states, flu vaccines are already required to attend daycare or preschool.
by Jenna Lee,