The Public Health Council, New Jersey, voted 5-2 today in favor of making flu shots compulsory for preschoolers. The Public Health Council is an advisory board, and final approval needs to come from the state’s Health Commissioner. The Council’s recommendations are usually implemented.

New Jersey health officials say the immunizations will help bring down the total number of sick children, hospitalizations and parents having to stay at home (to care for a child who is ill). One board member added that the new regulation will also save lives and prevent suffering.

Apart from flu shots, preschoolers will also have to have pneumoccocal shots, while sixth graders must take a whooping cough booster as well as a meningitis vaccine.

Numerous parents were hoping the vote would go the other way. They say there is no compelling proof that the vaccines are effective and safe. Some say they should have the right to philosophical objection to vaccine requirements. There is, in fact, a bill which has been sitting in committee for about four years which deals with this very topic (philosophical objection).

As opposed to most common vaccines, flu shots do contain mercury, say parents.

“Why should unelected officials be telling people what they have to put into their children?” say a number of parents.

New Jersey Demographics

Population, 2006 estimate 8,724,560 (USA 299,398,484)
Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 3.7% (USA 6.4%)
Population, 2000 8,414,350 (USA 281,421,906)
Persons under 5 years old, percent, 2005 6.7% (USA 6.8%)
Persons under 18 years old, percent, 2005 24.8% (USA 24.8%)
Persons 65 years old and over, percent, 2005 13.0% (USA 12.4%)
Female persons, percent, 2005 51.3% (USA 50.7%)

New Jersey Alliance for Informed Choice in Vaccination
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
New Jersey Hospitals (Performance Report)

Written by – Christian Nordqvist