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Massachusetts Drops Student Flu Vaccine Mandate

A bottle of influenza vaccine is seen in the MinuteClinic at the CVS/pharmacy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A bottle of influenza vaccine is seen in the MinuteClinic at the CVS/pharmacy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Massachusetts has dropped a requirement that all students get the flu shot this academic year in part because it has been a mild flu season so far.

The state announced in August that all students attending in-person classes, with some exceptions, would be required to get a flu shot to head off a possible “twindemic” of two severe respiratory illnesses during the coronavirus crisis.

“Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19,” a state Department of Public Health spokesperson said in a statement to The Boston Globe.

The state is now concentrating its efforts on rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, the spokesperson said.

The mandate applied to anyone six months or older in child care centers, preschool, K-12 schools, and colleges, with some exemptions including for religious and medical reasons.

The mandate was opposed by some who saw it as government overreach.

The Department of Public Health continues to “strongly recommend” getting a flu vaccine.

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