New Jersey mandates flu shots for preschoolers
I've described the struggle against vaccinations as a one-step-forward, two-steps-back kind of affair. For every hard-fought gain in the anti-vaccination camp, there always seems to be a set back right around the corner. Unfortunately, I have a two-steps-back story to tell you: this month a New Jersey state law went into effect that requires mandatory flu vaccinations for children who attend licensed pre-school and child care centers.
The logic of this horrible new law is, according to New Jersey's state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan, "Stopping flu transmission among kids will stop flu transmission in the community at large."
Yeah right. Seems that Dr. Tan hasn't been reading the same reports that I have, most of which indicate that in recent years the track record of effectiveness for flu shots has been dubious at best. But what the hell - let's shoot live viruses into little kids.
Once again, the government is going to act as the hired goon for Big Pharma. Kids who don't get the flu shot will be banned from attending class unless parents can show proof that they're intending to subject their kids to a flu shot within two weeks of the law's deadline.
I find it particularly interesting that New Jersey is testing the waters with this new law in state licensed private schools, not public schools. I'm sure they want to see how big of a political hot potato this could be before they impose this law in public schools. After all, a CDC advisory panel recommends that ALL children from six months to 18-years old should get flu shots.
Of course, the pro-vaccination docs are quick to tout that this law is really about good old-fashioned common sense. After all, they say, kids are little germ machines that infect one another at school, and then bring those germs home with them.
This may be true, but the fact remains that FLU SHOTS DON'T WORK! Last year's flu season was the worst in three years - and reports said that this was due to the fact that the virus that so many people had injected into their systems was completely ineffective against the flu.
New Jersey is the first state in the country to require compulsory flu shots for children. But with the power of Big Pharma and the pro vaccination lobbies, I'm sure it won't be the last. In fact, New Jersey has the ultimate goal of requiring FOUR additional immunizations for pre-school-age kids.
Naturally, there's no little degree of outrage, and parents groups and anti-vaccination groups have loudly protested the law. Last fall, the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice held a rally saying that immunization is a parent's prerogative - the state should back off.
Louise Kuo Habakus, spokeswoman for the Coalition says more and more, parents don't trust public health officials. "These are our kids," Habakus says. "We're stakeholders. You have to give us say in this debate."
But whether or not flu shots work hasn't come up once in this debate - it's all philosophical. And for Dr. Tan, philosophy just doesn't cut it. "The New Jersey Department of health opposes philosophical exemptions only because influenza can cause destructive and serious illness among children," Tan says.
Unfortunately, I doubt flu vaccines will do a damn thing to prevent flu.