TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Democrats Herb Conaway, Jr. and Andrew Zwicker, serving the Middlesex/Mercer/Somerset/Hunterdon region of the state in the New Jersey Assembly are calling for mandatory flu vaccinations for students in K-12 and college across New Jersey.
The bill, A4576 will require students and certain other children to be annually vaccinated for influenza as a condition of enrollment at public and private K-12 schools, preschools, child care centers, and institutions of higher education.
If passed the law states any principal, director, or another person in charge of a public or private school in this State shall not knowingly admit or retain in grades K through 12 a child whose parent or guardian has failed to submit acceptable evidence, by December 31 of the relevant school year, showing that the child has received an annual vaccination for influenza.
Some students with medical or religious concerns would be exempt from this mandatory vaccination
The bell states that the Commissioner of Health shall require each student who is enrolled in a program leading to an academic degree at a public or private institution of higher education in this State to annually receive a vaccination for influenza as a condition of the student’s enrollment and continued attendance at the institution. Commencing with the 2020-2021 school year, an administrator or other person in charge of an institution of higher education in this State shall not knowingly admit or retain a student who has not submitted acceptable evidence, by December 31 of the relevant school year, showing that the student has received an annual vaccination for influenza as required by this section.
“The vaccination of children and students for influenza will significantly reduce the number of children and students in the State who experience severe flu symptoms or a severe combination of flu and COVID-19 symptoms, will help reduce competition among flu and COVID-19 patients for similar medical resources, and will result in fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations related to influenza, thereby enabling the State to preserve its hospital capacity and emergency and intensive care resources for patients who are infected with COVID-19 or other severe diseases and ailments,” Conaway said.
“Because of the severe, unprecedented, and unpredictable nature of COVID-19, the fact that there is currently no vaccine or preventative treatment for COVID-19, the commonalities that exist between COVID-19 and influenza, the fact that a person may simultaneously be infected with both diseases, the fact that patients with influenza will compete with COVID-19 patients and other severely ill patients for hospital space and resource,” Zwicker said in the bill. “The unique characteristics of public and private K-12 schools, preschools, child care centers, and institutions of higher education, it is both reasonable and necessary for the Legislature to require children and students at these institutions to be annually vaccinated for influenza, as a condition of their continued enrollment and attendance at the institution, in each year going forward.”