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Springfield, NJ Father Challenges New Flu Shot Requirement; State DOH Amends Rules

Flu Shot (credit:  David Greedy/Getty Images)

Flu Shot (credit: David Greedy/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new law on the books in New Jersey requires all children under the age of 5 to get a flu shot before being allowed into school.

The law has prevented 4-year-old Jeremy Pereira from returning to his pre-K class at the Edward V. Walton School in Springfield because his parents said he is allergic to egg, which is present in the flu vaccine.

Under the law, which took effect on Jan. 1, religious and medical exemptions are allowed, but only if the child’s doctor determines that the child would likely face a severe reaction to the vaccine.

“They’re saying he’s not allergic to the shot but they don’t know that because he hasn’t taken the shot, so they want us to administer the shot that has something in it that he is allergic to in order to prove that he is allergic to the shot,” Jeremy’s father, Joe, told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot.

Pereira said he is not opposed to the flu shot, but does not want to unnecessarily sicken his son.

“Our younger son, Joey, he’s 3 years old, he got the flu shot already. He’s not allergic to eggs so we were OK with that. It’s not about the flu shot, it’s about what he’s allergic to,” Pereira told Cabot.

On Tuesday evening, the New Jersey Department of Health released the following statement regarding the vaccine requirement:

“After careful consideration, the DOH has made a decision to continue to accept egg allergy as a valid medical contraindication for the 2012-2013 school year.”

The statement went on to say, “The DOH apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your continued patience and cooperation.”

EXTRARead The Full DOH Statement Here

For now, Pereira said his son is staying at home as the family awaits a decision from the school.

With the enactment of the law eight days ago, New Jersey became the sixth state to have the flu shot requirement for kids six months to 5 years old.

Do you agree with the law, or with Jeremy’s parents? Offer your comments below…