On September 10, 2020, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced that the State may create a new policy requiring flu shots for students who attend school in person.
According to WXXINews.org, “because the testing infrastructure for the flu is the same as what’s used to detect the coronavirus,” a spike in conventional flu cases or COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the system and make it difficult or impossible to provide needed testing for either ailment. Therefore, the State is prioritizing flu shots in an effort to prevent a spike in conventional flu cases. The State of Massachusetts is already requiring students from preschool through college, along with children in day care, to receive flu shots. The Massachusetts mandate affects students in public and non-public schools.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms urges the State of New York not to follow the example of its neighbor to the east. While we have no objection to vaccines in general or to flu shots in particular, we believe that a statewide flu shot mandate would be heavy-handed and unnecessary. Furthermore, we object to any flu shot mandate that (a) applies to non-public schools; and/or (b) does not provide an exemption for parents with religious or moral objections to vaccination. (Some pro-life New Yorkers, for example, object to vaccines derived from fetal stem cells.) Just last year, the State of New York repealed the religious exemption to its student vaccine mandate; the move outraged parents and led to a series of protests. The State should refrain from placing another onerous mandate upon families whose lives have already been restricted and disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.