On Wednesday, with just three weeks to go until he leaves office, Mr. Bloomberg’s controversial Board of Health is set to vote on new rules that would force children as young as six months old to be immunized each year before December 31 if they attend licensed day care or pre-school 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.”
The Board is stocked with mayoral appointees and controversial initiatives–from smoking bans to regulations on soda cup sizes–have sailed through with little opposition, angering a small, but passionate group of advocates who claim the vaccinations are potentially dangerous.
“The Bloomberg administration is wildly exaggerating the benefit of the flu shot and we think they are wildly underestimating the risks involved with it,” said John Gilmore, the executive director of the Autism Action Network, speaking more broadly than the controversial claim that links vaccines to autism.
“There are risks associated with every medical procedure,” he said, citing allergic reactions, toxic mercury used as a preservative and questions as to whether the Board’s move is legal given state government jurisdictions.
Whether you think mandatory flu vaccinations are safe and not a problem or you think they're a health risk, isn't this an issue we can roll over and deal with in the next administration?
Why does Bloomberg get to shove it through with 3 weeks to go?
This feels like another imperious move by our imperial mayor who has decided he will decide everything for everybody.