Last week, the NYC Board of Health voted in favor of a rule that will force children as young as six months old to be immunized before December 31 if they attend licensed day care programs.
“Young children have a high risk of developing severe complications from influenza. One-third of children under five in New York City do not receive an annual influenza vaccination, even though the vaccine safely and effectively protects them against influenza illness,” the Health Department said in a statement. “This mandate will help protect the health of young children, while reducing the spread of influenza in New York City.”
Under the approved rule, the vaccinations are required “unless the vaccine may be detrimental to the child’s health, as certified by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state, or the parent, parents, or guardian of a child hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices herein required.”
The measure passed even as groups staged protests of opposition against it. The Autism Action Network organized a protest one day before the vote, but did not expect the board to be swayed by the show of opposition, hoping instead that the rally would get the attention of New York City’s Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio.
“This is basically to put the mayor-elect [on alert], make him aware that this is an issue that he’s going to have to deal with it. It’s not going to go away,” said John Gilmore, the executive director of the Autism Action Network. He also criticized the methods by which the Bloomberg administrative has advanced this agenda. “He is kind of doing this in a stealth fashion. He just proposed this about 6 weeks ago. I don’t think there was any announcement.”
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