NYC Flu Shot Mandate...Right or Wrong?

As the holiday season winds down and the children return to school, New York City has a little surprise for all of them.  A new requirement which applies to the 150,000 children in city licensed day care and preschools  states that these children can be excluded from class if they have not received a flu vaccination this year.  Although the New York State Departmen of Health has no such requirement, nor can they force principals or school directors to exclude non-compliant children, the city schools can make their own decision to enforce this rule which affects mommy and me classes, part time/full time day care or preschool and universal prekindergarten.  The city will charge fines ranging from $200 to $2000 to schools whose students don’t follow this rule.

But, many doctors and parents question whether or not this mandate is right or wrong for various reasons, including:

1) The actual efficacy. The current flu season has already demonstrated a new strain of the virus which is not covered by any of the available vaccines.  There are concerns about the vaccines efficacy which may be 60% at best due to changing strains of the virus.  

2) The toxicity of the ingredients. The vaccines in addition to the influenza viral strains seen in past seasons, contain formaldehyde, a known cancer causing agent and other “adjuvants” or helper viruses, bacteria and toxic chemicals.  None of these ingredients are safe for humans least of all small children.  

3) It Interferes with Parental Choice. Regardless of people’s views about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, many people would agree that it should be an individual’s right to choose – or, in the case of a minor, a parent’s right to choose – which substances are injected into their body.

4) It may not take into account children with compromised immune systems. Since we don’t evaluate children for competency of their immune systems and mitochondrial function, we have fallen into this trap of assuming that they can handle all of these foreign and potentially dangerous substances.  While we know that individuals with compromised immune systems may be more susceptible to disease and the consequences of serious illness, vaccinating them with toxic substances may be more of a threat to their overall immune health than getting the flu.

The recent New York Times article, "New York City Requiring Flu Shots For Preschoolers," states that “on rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems….”  However, The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program reports over 1600 claims of injury and 81 deaths attributed to flu vaccines since 2005.  These numbers may represent 10% of the actual adverse reactions since doctors rarely report these adverse reactions.  

While prevention of disease is the primary concern of pediatricians and we are taught that the benefit of administering these vaccines outweigh the risks, parents have the right to obtain correct information about the types of flu vaccines available to their children.  This must include the positive and potential adverse effects.  Only then can a parent make an informed decision about whether or not their child should receive the flu vaccine.  Unfortunately informed consent is rarely given nowadays.  Parents are being forced to educate themselves since their doctors lack the time and the complete information to do so.  In my opinion this is not the way vaccine decisions should be made, nor should parents feel threatened with expulsion from preschool programs