Take your mandatory flu vaccine shot and shove it!
- By Mary Kay Linge - December 15, 2013 - The New York Post
Last week the city Board of Health voted to force annual flu vaccinations on all babies and children under age 5 who attend day-care centers and preschool programs. Here, Sophia Ling, mother of 3-year-old Oona and a fitness instructor in Staten Island, tells The Post’s Mary Kay Linge how the risks of the shot outweigh the benefits — and wants nannying bureaucrats to stop trampling parents’ rights.
When I first heard about the new flu vaccine rule, I was upset but not surprised. The Board of Health did this so quietly, with no input from parents of young children. The unanimous vote was cast before New Yorkers had any chance to protest.
I don’t respond well to being bullied on a matter of personal health. I also dislike the underhanded way this is being forced only on our youngest citizens. Parents of toddlers aren’t an organized political faction — we’re a bit too busy keeping our kids safe and calculating the distance to the nearest potty.
To get more facts about the flu vaccine, I turned to the Staten Island Natural & Attachment Parenting group on Facebook. Moms banding together are a powerful force. I followed links to documents from the Centers for Disease Control, vaccine manufacturers and research studies. The more I learned, the more livid I became.
In any given year, the CDC admits, the flu vaccine may be totally ineffective against the flu. That’s because scientists have to guess which strains of the flu virus will be going around each year. Some years, they guess wrong.
At best, the flu vaccine may be 60 percent effective. To me, a 0 to 60 percent efficacy rate equals one thing: fail.
Plenty of people who get the flu shot come down with flu anyway. It happened to me, actually — the only time I got a flu shot, during my pregnancy, I was sick for a week.
Not only that, the CDC says, “the flu vaccine works best among healthy adults and older children,” less well for babies and toddlers — the very people being targeted by the city’s new rule. Safety testing on children, especially babies and toddlers, has been limited.
And the side effects of the flu vaccine are very real. The manufacturers’ warning labels give a long list of potential risks — everything from fever and headache to convulsions, blood disorders and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Last flu season, at least five young children died as a direct result of the flu vaccine, according to the federal database that tracked adverse reactions during the 2012-13 flu season.
So, am I willing to roll the dice and hope that Oona is one of the lucky ones? No. In my judgment, the potential risks to my daughter outweigh the possible benefits.
I’m not against vaccination per se. Oona is getting all the vaccinations required by New York state. But those shots have much higher efficacy rates, confer long-term or lifetime immunity and protect against far more dangerous illnesses than the flu.
So now I may have to change my plans for my daughter and me. Rather than send Oona to preschool in the fall, I may choose to home-school her until she turns 6.
How sad it would be if our new mayor’s signature issue — early childhood education — is undone because parents refuse to be bullied by a government bent on taking away our most basic rights.