Some parents in New Jersey are strongly opposing a New Jersey law that requires them to vaccinate their children for the flu:
MORRISTOWN, New Jersey (CNN) — Since the beginning of the year the family clinic at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey has seen an influx of young children coming in for flu shots.
The rush for vaccinations is prompted by a new law that makes New Jersey the only state requiring children between 6 months and 5 years old to get the flu vaccine to attend a licensed daycare or pre-school. The deadline for the flu shot requirement was December 31.
Some parents are upset about the requirement. John General and Alnisa Bernabela brought their 4-year-old twins Jahmein and Jameir to the clinic last week for the flu shots.
“I’m really not okay with it because I think it should have been my choice,” said Bernabela.
“By them forcing this, I feel like our rights have been violated,” said General, holding his crying son Jameir being vaccinated.
Last fall, hundreds of parents with the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice challenged the flu shot requirement at a rally in Trenton, New Jersey.The NJCVC and parents interviewed by CNN, expressed concern about the safety of influenza vaccines and possible long-term effects on young children.
But the New Jersey Department of Health says the new law is for the public good citing Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention numbers showing an average of 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized nationwide each year because of influenza complications.
Jennifer Frank says she’s committed to the public health goal but not on the state’s schedule. Her 2-year-old son Caleb was hospitalized twice for extreme eczema as an infant. At one point, he was on a feeding tube, and she says he couldn’t get vaccinated.
“There was literally no clear space to put a needle,” says Jennifer Frank.
Caleb’s doctors were stumped and couldn’t make a diagnosis for his condition. Since then, the Franks with their pediatrician’s approval, have Caleb on a delayed vaccination schedule. As a result, they didn’t meet the state’s December 31 flu shot deadline and now their local board of health has banned Caleb from pre-school.
“When he gets his shots, that same rash flares up,” says Joshua Frank, the father of Caleb. “You know, it’s frightening. It’s very real. And for them to say, ‘Well, we don’t care, even though your doctors agree with you,’ is outrageous.”
Here’s an ABC report on the issue:
Frankly, I think the parents are in the right on this one.