BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has removed a state mandate requiring all state students to get the flu vaccine.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is removing the requirement for flu vaccination for attendance in childcare/preschool, primary, secondary and postsecondary education. Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19. Given the intensive Commonwealth-wide efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccination, DPH wants to alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination and focus on continuing our COVID -19 vaccination efforts.— Statement from the Mass. Dept. of Public Health
DPH also said in their statement that they continue to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine each year. All guidance regarding school immunizations can be found on their website.
In August, public health officials announced that influenza immunization would be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, K-12, colleges, and universities.
“Every year, thousands of people of all ages are affected by influenza, leading to many hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, medical director of DPH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences. “It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve healthcare resources.”
The original deadline to get the vaccine was December 31, 2020, but that was extended to February 2021.
Some families across the state fought against the mandate and Health Choice 4 Action Massachusetts has been fighting bills at the state level that are trying to eliminate or restrict religious and medical exemptions for vaccinations.
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