Friday, December 14, 2007

New Jersey forces parents to immunize young children against the flu...

As I read, Flu shots now mandatory for New Jersey preschoolers especially this part I started to wonder:
State Health Commissioner Dr. Fred M. Jacobs approved the requirement and three other vaccines for school children starting September 1, 2008, over the objections of some parent groups.

The new requirements "will have a direct impact on reducing illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths in one of New Jersey's most vulnerable populations -- our children," Jacobs said in a statement.

It doesn't appear from the CDC reporting for October 1, 2006-May 19, 2007 any of the 68 pediatric deaths reported related to the flu happened in New Jersey. It also appears that at least 18 of those deaths happened to children who were vaccinated.

During the flu season of October 2, 2005 through June 24, 2006, 41 pediatric deaths were reported, at least one of which happened in New Jersey.

What advice does the CDC give on the flu vaccine for young children?
The flu vaccine can prevent 66% or more influenza infections in young children, with even higher estimates for older children, when the vaccine strains are well-matched to the flu viruses causing illness. Vaccinating close contacts of children can also help decrease children’s risk of getting the flu.

The emphasis is mine, because we don't have the "well matching" aspect down yet...Then there is some recent research that suggests the flu vaccine has not reduced hospitalizations in the elderly. There's also this recent article reporting results from The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Personally, I stand firm to the belief that it should be up to the individual to decide if they want such a vaccine or their child should be vaccinated for illnesses such as the flu or chickenpox.

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