Governor Baker Requires Flu Vaccine for Students

Many are angry over this controversial mandate from the Massachusetts governor.

Governor Baker Requires Flu Vaccine for Students

Moira Doolittle, Staff Reporter

All students from the age of 6 months and older must receive an influenza vaccine no later than December 30, said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker this past August. He implemented this order in preparation for a second wave of Covid-19 this winter to try and decrease the amount of viruses schools will have to deal with in the upcoming months.

Many parents are angry about this state-wide mandate, and some are even threatening to sue the government, saying this is an overreach of government power and unnecessary. Hundreds of parents rallied outside the federal courthouse in Boston on Monday, October 5, with signs stating that it’s their children, they should get to choose whether to vaccinate them or not.

When asked her opinion on this matter, Lane Warmbrod, research associate at John Hopkins University, said “I don’t think it’s an overreach at all, I think it’s protecting everyone.”

She also stated her fear of people getting tired of quarantine: “If people get tired of these social distancing measures, and are fed up, and the world continues on the course it’s going, and people just can’t stay home anymore, it’s going to be important that we try to keep up these social distancing measures up, then we’re going to see an increase in cases.”

Heidi Ragno, the high school’s AP Biology teacher, said “Vaccines really are beneficial, so I just think, in general if there is a vaccine that has been tested . . . and if we can get behind these vaccines that are helping our society, I say why fight that?”

Ragno said how she personally has already planned to get her daughter a flu shot, and is in support of Governor Baker’s decision.

The school’s Medical Anatomy and Pathophysiology teacher, David Harms, also gave his thoughts about the benefits of flu shots.

“It is true that the flu vaccine isn’t going to do anything for Covid, but since they’re both respiratory diseases, if somebody was to come down with the flu, they would probably be more susceptible to Covid,” Harms said.

When asked whether he thought this order was an overreach of government power, Harms said he is “sort of of the mindset that the government shouldn’t be telling people what to do with their bodies and with their health, but at the same time, in the interest of public health, I think it’s a good idea.”

The only exceptions to this mandate are those students who may be exempt due to medical conditions that may cause complications or for religious reasons.