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December 3, 2018

New York City Childcare Influenza Vaccine Mandate

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement, George Washington University School of Nursing, Washington, DC
  • 2Department of Health Policy and Management, George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington, DC
  • 3Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(2):119-120. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4220

In December 2013, the New York City Board of Health amended its requirements to mandate annual influenza vaccination for infants and children aged 6 months to 59 months, before they may be admitted to city-regulated childcare and educational institutions.1 The Board of Health already required vaccinations against 11 other diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, and pneumococcal disease. The amended requirements authorized denial of admission to any child who lacks proof of receiving the influenza vaccine, established an appeal process for children who have been denied admission, and subjected fines to childcare and educational institutions for not maintaining documentation of influenza vaccination status. The amended requirements also provided vaccination exemptions based on medical need and religious belief. Parents of these children challenged this regulation in court. Although the New York lower courts twice ruled in favor of the parents, the highest court in New York upheld the regulation on June 28, 2018.2