New York City is to force mandatory flu shots on preschoolers.
Starting next year (2016), the city will start charge fines to schools whose students do not follow the rule. This year is being used as a grace period during which time the city will check vaccination records without penalizing schools.
In fact, because of a new city requirement, young children can, for the first time in the city’s history, be excluded from class if they have not received a flu vaccination.
The new rule, which applies to some 150,000 children in city-licensed day care centers and preschools, was quietly adopted by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in the waning days of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration. This is the first flu season during which it applies. New York City joins New Jersey and Connecticut in implementing a mandatory flu vaccine for children between 6 months and 5 years of age.
The city had been lagging behind the national average in preschool flu immunization rates, and officials are expecting that the new mandate will help.
Parents may opt out for medical and religious reasons.