Moms sue NYC over pre-K flu vaccine rule

Some moms with kids in the public pre-kindergarten program are suing New York City. They're fighting the Health Department's mandate that all public school students under 5 must get the flu vaccine.

Dr. Greg Yapalater, a pediatrician, says the flu is a huge threat and can be deadly for preschoolers. Indeed, the highest death rate for the flu is in children under 5, he says. He is a firm supporter of flu vaccines for children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.

Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city Health Department passed a rule mandating flu vaccines if preschoolers attend school programs. But five mothers are now fighting that rule. They don't want their children to receive a flu vaccine. They are suing the city and claiming the rule is illegal because the Health Department passed it rather than state lawmakers in Albany.

Their lawyer said that until elected representatives say otherwise, getting the flu vaccine is a personal choice. Attorney Aaron Siri said that the parents support all of the other required vaccinations except the flu vaccine in part because the mandate doesn't apply to everyone.

The city released this statement: "We are confident that the Board of Health has the authority to require flu vaccinations which protect children and the broader public from serious illness. We will review the specific claims once we are served with the lawsuit."