New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again with his nanny-state measures, the latest involving a push for mandatory annual flu vaccines for New York City children under the age of five. Last week, the NYC Board of Health voted in favor of a rule that will force children as young as six months old to be immunized before December 31 if they attend licensed day care 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.”
Under the approved rule, the vaccinations are required “unless the vaccine may be detrimental to the child’s health, as certified by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state, or the parent, parents, or guardian of a child hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices herein required.”
The measure passed even as groups staged protests of opposition against it. The Autism Action Network organized a protest one day before the vote, but did not expect the board to be swayed by the show of opposition, hoping instead that the rally would get the attention of New York City’s Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio.
“This is basically to put the mayor-elect [on alert], make him aware that this is an issue that he’s going to have to deal with it. It’s not going to go away,” said John Gilmore, the executive director of the Autism Action Network. He also criticized the methods by which the Bloomberg administrative has advanced this agenda. “He is kind of doing this in a stealth fashion. He just proposed this about 6 weeks ago. I don’t think there was any announcement.”
It is no surprise that the measure passed in New York’s controversial Board of Health, which is loaded with mayoral appointees and has been the subject of harsh criticism resulting from its contentious initiatives, ranging from smoking bans to regulations on soda cup sizes.
Last September, a ban on super-sized sugary drinks passed the Board of Health, with just one vote against it. The ban limits drinks sold in restaurants and delis to no larger than 16 ounces. The ban imposes a $200 fine on all businesses that do not comply with the ban.
In 2008, New York issued a rule requiring restaurants to include calorie counts on their menus. The city issued a rule in 2006 that forced restaurants to cut the use of trans fats in prepared food. In 2011, it banned smoking in most public areas, including beaches and parks.
Mayor Bloomberg has acquired something of a reputation for his focus on obesity and the health habits of New York residents. He has attempted to replace high vehicular traffic areas, such as Times Square, with pedestrian plazas, and has replaced a number of parking spots with bicycle lanes.
Now the mayor has turned his attention to vaccinations in an effort to complete his reign as a nanny-state governor before he bows out.
Politicker reported, “According to a Board of Health notice made public in September, influenza results in 20,000 hospitalizations and 30 to 150 deaths in children under 5 nation-wide each year.”
Health officials have often encouraged Americans to get vaccinated for the flu, but some critics assert that it is more dangerous for Americans to acquire the flu shot than the flu.
The Natural Society indicated that flu vaccines are equally “unpredictable” and dangerous. What’s more, the Natural Society contends that the vaccines are ineffective.
It reported that in 2009, “a staggering 50 percent of doctors refused the H1N1 flu vaccine due to the strong connection with adverse health connection with adverse health concerns.” Sadly, many of those doctors were still recommending those shots to their patients.
By 2010, government chiefs had confirmed a link between the H1N1 vaccine and a nerve disease known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome. But as noted by the Natural Society, “This information didn’t stop health officials from pushing the vaccine onto the population in 2010 and 2011.”
The link between flu vaccines and Guillain-Barre Syndrome has been made since the 1970s.
In addition to the issues associated with the flu vaccination, a number of skeptics note the dangers of vaccinations in general.
The Natural Society wrote:
Vaccines are often filled with harmful chemicals which lead to many of the health conditions listed above. Many of these chemicals are inflammatory chemicals added to strengthen the vaccine. One main “ingredient” in vaccines which has been in the controversial spot light for quite some time is thimerosal. Thermerosal is a preservative used for injections coming from a multi-dose vial to prevent bacterial contamination. The problem is that thimerosal contains quite a bit of mercury which is concerning to many health professionals.
“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 Autism Action Network's Gilmore.
“There are risks associated with every medical procedure,” he added, referencing allergic reactions, and the presence of mercury found within vaccines as a preservative.