The question was raised on Thursday during a conference call with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, reporters and other state officials, an outlet wrote.
Cuomo deferred the question about mandatory flu vaccines to state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, WGRZ reported.
“We’re looking at all these possibilities to see what we can do. I think public health information is the first necessary thing to do but we are looking at that as a possibility,” Zucker said, according to WGRZ.
New York officials are exploring the possibility of a mandatory flu vaccine for all public school students, according to a report. (iStock)
“I hadn’t heard of the possibility of making it mandatory, but Dr. Zucker says it’s something that he’s looking at,” Cuomo said, another outlet wrote.
The news comes after a controversial move by Massachusetts officials last month, which mandated the flu vaccine for all students ages 6 months and older.
The requirement applied to all children 6 months of age or older who are attending child care, preschool or kindergarten in the Bay State, as well as K-12 students and those who are enrolled in Massachusetts’ various colleges and universities, including any international students.
State public health officials set a deadline for the mandatory vaccinations by Dec. 31. The mandate drew hundreds of protesters to Boston, who chanted and hoisted signs that read “My Body, My Choice” and “Nurses Against Mandatory Vaccines” outside the State House on Aug. 30.
“They are forcing us to inject something into our child that we don’t agree with,” Mike Megna, a parent protesting, told Boston’s WBZ-TV. “This is about taking away the fears of COVID. I just think we should be able to choose what goes in my son’s body. We can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and the government shouldn’t say it for us.”
During Thursday’s conference call, Cuomo reportedly urged New Yorkers to get the flu shot early, adding that flu symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19.
The New York State Department of Health advises annual flu vaccines for almost everyone ages 6 months or older.
“It is one of the best ways to reduce flu illnesses, hospitalizations and death from flu. This fall and winter, the flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 may both be spreading,” state health officials wrote. “For that reason, getting a flu shot will be more important than ever to help people stay healthy and to ease the burden on our health care system.”
Health officials also said the flu shot is important because “doctors don’t know what the risk is of having both flu and COVID-19 at the same time.”
Fox News’ Madeline Farber and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.