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NYC requires flu shots for day care, preschool. Should Calif.?



During the 2013-2014 flu season, the Golden State lagged behind Connecticut and New Jersey in flu shots for kids.
During the 2013-2014 flu season, the Golden State lagged behind Connecticut and New Jersey in flu shots for kids.
Photo by Erik Bishoff via Flickr Creative Commons

Has your child received the influenza vaccine during this year's flu season?

Starting this year, children attending New York City-licensed day care centers and preschools must have received at least one dose of the flu vaccine by December 31, or risk being excluded from school, according to this New York Times article. All children should get two doses of the flu vaccine each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The new regulation requires facilities to track whether kids have received the flu vaccination, according to this FAQ from the city health department.

"The city had been lagging behind the national average in preschool flu immunization rates, and officials are expecting that the new mandate will help," Times reporter Sharon Otterman writes.

As evidence, Otterman points to this CDC study that analyzes the impact of a similar law in Connecticut, which was implemented in September 2010. It finds that after the law took effect, flu vaccination rates among Connecticut kids aged 6 months to five years increased about 24 percent from the 2009-2010 season, to 84 percent in the 2012-2013 flu season.

New Jersey was the first state in the nation to implement this type of regulation, in 2008. During the 2013-2014 flu season, about 86 percent of New Jersey kids aged 6 months to 4 years were vaccinated against the flu, according to the CDC.

Would it work in the Golden State?

California does require certain shots, depending on age, to attend child care facilities.

And a lot of Impatient readers support this: In a poll that I posted last month, about 74 percent of you voted for keeping kids out of child care until they're fully vaccinated. Just 9 percent of you were in favor of allowing unvaccinated kids to attend child care with no penalty.

The flu shot is not one of the required immunizations. During the 2013-2014 flu season, the Golden State lagged behind Connecticut and New Jersey in flu shots for kids: About 73 percent of California kids aged 6 months to 4 years had gotten the flu vaccination.

So, here's another chance to weigh in: Should California kids be required to receive at least one dose of the flu shot in order to attend licensed child care facilities or preschool programs? 

http://polldaddy.com/poll/8567171

Take our poll - and then tell us more, in the comments section below or via e-mail, Impatient@scpr.org.