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Mandatory Flu Shots for Preschoolers Cause Outrage

preschooler, toddler, childNew Jersey's Public Health Council now requires a flu shot for all children before they enroll in preschools and daycare centers. The mandate has infuriated many parents, hundreds of whom recently gathered in protest outside the statehouse in Trenton.

Parents flooded the statehouse, carrying signs with slogans like "Parent Power" and "My Child, My Choice," and chanting "No American should be forced to play vaccine roulette with their child." They rallied for support of a "conscientious objectors" clause, which would grant exemptions for children and parents who have a moral objection to the vaccination.

Existing state law provides for medical and religious exemptions to mandatory vaccinations, but parents say that requests are not frequently granted by authorities. New Jersey officials oppose any laws allowing parents to opt out of the vaccine.

Children 6-months to 5-years-old enrolled in a daycare or preschool have until December 31, 2008 to receive both the flu and pneumococcal vaccine. New Jersey requires the most childhood shots for day-care and school admission among all states in the nation.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
New Jersey’s move to make flu shots mandatory for preschoolers is an extreme violation of basic human rights. I am not against all vaccines, but I do wholeheartedly support vaccine choice and safety -- and once you review the facts for yourself, you will likely come to the same conclusion I have regarding the flu vaccine: it’s not safe, and it’s not effective.

Why the Flu Vaccine is Potentially Dangerous

The majority of flu shots contain 25 micrograms of mercury -- an amount considered unsafe for anyone weighing less than 550 pounds! And which groups are most sensitive to the neurological damage that has been associated with mercury? Infants, children, and the elderly -- the key groups to which flu vaccines are most highly pushed.

Unfortunately, now, for the first time, flu vaccination is also being pushed for virtually all children -- not just those under 5.

This is a huge change. Previously, flu vaccine was recommended only for youngsters under 5. This year, the government is recommending that children from age 6 months to 18 years be vaccinated, expanding inoculations to 30 million more school-age children.

Aside from exposing your child or yourself to toxic mercury, other possible serious adverse reactions to flu shots include joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralytic autoimmune disease.

Fortunately, in most states you still have the choice of whether or not to get this vaccine, unlike in New Jersey, which is trying to force the shot on their infants.

To make matters worse …

The Flu Shot, Does It Work?

If your child gets a flu shot, he can still get the flu (or flu-like symptoms). This is because it only protects against certain strains, and it’s anyone’s guess about which flu viruses will be in your area. According to the CDC:

“In some years when vaccine and circulating strains were not well-matched, no vaccine effectiveness can be demonstrated in some studies, even in healthy adults. It is not possible in advance of the influenza season to predict how well the vaccine and circulating strains will be matched, and how that match may affect the degree of vaccine effectiveness.”

Even if the “experts” get it right and do match the circulating strains (and that is a BIG IF), studies still show that the flu shot is vastly ineffective.

A study published in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu appeared to have no impact on flu-related doctor visits or hospitalizations during two recent flu seasons.

At first glance, the data did suggest that children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years derived some protection from the vaccine in these years. But after adjusting for potentially relevant variables, the researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting.”

A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, also found no evidence the flu vaccine is any more effective for children under 2 than a placebo.

It Doesn’t Take a Vaccine to Avoid the Flu

The basic “recipe” to help avoid the flu involves lifestyle changes that will keep your immune system strong, including:

• Eating right for your nutritional type 
• Eliminating sugar from your diet
Eating garlic regularly 
• Consuming a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil, daily
• Getting plenty of vitamin D
Getting adequate sleep
Addressing emotional stress 
Washing your hands regularly (but not excessively)

Regarding vitamin D, one credible hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease.

Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.

Studies show that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections, and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. The increased number of deaths that occur in winter, largely from pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, are most likely due to vitamin D deficiency.

For more information on this amazing flu-preventing vitamin, as well as where to have your vitamin D levels checked and how to cure a cold or flu with mega-doses of vitamin D, read the full article I posted on this topic.

+ Sources and References