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New Jersey Parents Protest Mandatory Flu Vaccine For Pre-School

by @ 7:55 am on October 1, 2009. Filed under Health, Individual Liberty, Swine Flu

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.

6 Responses to “New Jersey Parents Protest Mandatory Flu Vaccine For Pre-School”

  1. Let's Be Free says:

    I recall my parents pointing out buildings that had been TB sanitariums (my, what a clinical moniker) and telling me how people’s lives had been destroyed by forced isolation into the same. I recall how some people panicked when AIDS first came to our consciousness and went to extreme measures to avoid exposure to the same or anyone who might have been exposed.

    I happen to believe that insulating our kids from every conceivable disease interferes with the development of antibodies that help them later in life. It’s a balancing act.

    We need to be really careful about histrionics of disease driving our lives. Getting sick is part of living. And deatb, taxes and backlash presidential elections are the only things we can be certain of.

  2. Chris M. says:

    @ LBF: I agree with the statements about extreme measures and the almost hysterical attitude towards sickness. However, your second paragraph isn’t quite correct. The point of the vaccine is to deliver a mild agent, usually a dead form of the virus into the immune system. This way, the antibodies find the agent, eradicate it, and remember it’s signature for later use. It isn’t a type of insulation, so much as a method of augmenting what an antibody would do naturally if it came in contact with the virus itself. It’s like studying for your SATs.

    I assume the idea behind the mandatory vaccination is to build a herd immunity early and protect the largest number of children. I would like to know if there are some of the usual exemptions for religious groups, etc. Also, in that woman’s case, I think there should certainly be an exemption for special cases. But is it then reasonable for her child to attend preschool when it puts the other children at risk? I don’t know the answer to that.

    I would recommend a discussion with a gentlemen from the CDC on the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast, episode 117 I believe. That podcast is a wealth of knowledge on scientific issues in general.

  3. Let's Be Free says:

    Appreciate the response Chris. Even though I never studied for the SAT’s our intention is to innoculate the kids when the vaccine becomes available (we homeschool).

    What tips us over the edge on this is that our youngest is having some recurring health problems so we wonder whether she could be at risk for significant harm. What I fear is lost from innoculations is developing antibodies to slight naturally occuring mutations which may give a broader spectrum of protection down the road.

    The thing about science is it depends on what can be measured and parameterized and most systems and processes are much more complex, even at this advanced stage, than what we can currently observe, count and model. I think good science always needs to be complemented by sound judgement and intuition. And natural scientests, just like economists and mortgage bankers, can succumb to a herd mentality.

    So paint me consistently skeptical, but usually not unreasonable.

  4. arnepaul says:

    This swine Flu hysteria is the biggest load of BS out there. It makes one wonder what’s in it for the government to be trying to mandate the vaccines. Is it merely a kick-back scheme from the vaccine makers? Or, probably more likely, an experiment to see how easily the people can (or cannot) be controlled? (Perhaps both?) Many a respected physician and viral researcher have stated this swine flu “pandemic” is a hoax, whether intentional or just the idiotically trendy, lazy (such as the media) complying with the latest press release they’re fed by a corporation or the government. Anyone who well remembers or has seriously researched the first swine flu hysteria back in the mid 1970’s will know that scores of people died due to the vaccine, which was mandated for all military and some other government personnel. Not ONE person died from the swine flu itself, which effected only a small segment of the population. More people died from the “common” flu and even the common cold during that same period. History, particularly the ugliest and cruelest history, always repeats itself. With the majority of the public being intellectual sloths who gorge on hysteria it’s sadly easy to see how.

  5. arnepaul,

    This isn’t necessarily related to Swine Flu, it’s the regular flu shot that’s at issue as I understand it.

  6. Robert Colon says:

    Hi all,
    In Australia we often see minor problems with flu shots. What I’m concerned about is that the Goverment has bought enough Swine Flu shots to innoculate everyone here.
    Pregnant women are first to get it. They really don’t know of what or any side effects this may have yet they are going ahead anyway inspite of some Professors repeatedly saying we don’t need it as fewer people are dieing from swine flu than the ordinary flu. I worry about these unborn children.


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