A Manhattan judge has tossed out a New York City Health Department mandate that preschoolers must get flu shots.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez called the requirement “invalid and unlawful” in his decision, adding that the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene “lacked the statutory authority” to mandate the vaccines because they are not required under state law.
Five mothers from Manhattan and Brooklyn – Clemence Rasigni, Magdalena Garcia, Lynn Rosenger, Michelle Carroll and Gabrielle Jakob – sued the city over the 2013 Bloomberg-era policy, using a similar argument to the one that was used to overturn the former mayor’s soda ban. 
Under the policy set to take effect Dec. 31, unvaccinated children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years would have been barred from entering city day care and preschool programs.
Preschool programs that accepted unvaccinated children would have been fined.
The moms hadn’t argued against the other vaccines required by state law, just the flu shot.
“I believe that my human right to informed consent as to what should be injected into my toddler’s body, especially where my learned judgment is that she should not receive the flu shot, at least should be (considered) by my elected representatives,” plaintiff Clemence Rasigni, an investment banker mom of a 3-year-old in the Flatiron District, wrote in her affidavit. 
“In order to remain in daycare, these parents would be forced to violate the fundamental right to bodily integrity, among other fundamental rights, and inject their child with the flu shot against their desires and judgment,” lawyer Aaron Siri wrote in a request for an injunction filed with the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court.
“(The new city requirement) is in direct violation of the New York State Public Health Law,” Mendez says in a nine-page decision posted on the courts’ computer system shortly after midnight.
Mendez said that in making the new requirement, the state wrongly relied on a 150-year-old statute which gives the city health department broad powers to mandate new vaccines. More recent laws specify which vaccines are required, and the flu shot is not among them.
Mendez ruled the city doesn’t have the power to impose the requirement without getting the state legislature’s approval.
“This is not a situation where it is difficult to demarcate (the) line between administrative rulemaking and legislative policy making,” Mendez said. 
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu shot contains the chemical compound thimerosal, which contains 50% mercury.
In 2010, government health chiefs officially linked the H1N1 flu shot to the killer nerve disease, Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Other conditions associated with the flu shot – which manufacturers admit on vaccine insert – include:
- Facial edema
- Immune system disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Digestive disorders
- Abdominal pain
- Blood and lymphatic disorders
- Local lymphadenopathy
- Transient thrombocytopenia
- Metabolic and nutritional disorders
- Loss of appetite
- Nervous system disorders
- Febrile convulsions
- Neuropathy (including neuritis)
- Paralysis (including Bell’s Palsy)
- Respiratory disorders
- Chest pain
- Rash (including non-specific, maculopapular, and vesiculobulbous)
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Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.