Flu Vaccine Requirement for Foster Families Creating Opposition

It appears to be an impasse; the flu vaccine requirement. The state of Washington has mandated flu shots for all family members in foster homes where children under the age of two are housed. But dozens of foster parents are refusing the flu vaccine for a number of reasons:  1) According to these parents, the efficacy of the flu vaccine is sketchy and there has not been enough research to prove it’s completely safe; and 2) Parents want to remain the decision makers regarding their family’s health –- rather than having the government force health decisions on them.

With this impasse, the already dwindling number of foster homes will decrease even more. Many foster parents have amended their licensure to exclude children under the age of two.

Proponents of the mandate are quick to state facts:

  1. The flu vaccine is safe. Most side effects are limited to site soreness.
  2. Although this year’s flu vaccine isn’t as efficacious as previous years, it has still prevented the virus, lowering the number of those becoming ill.
  3. The state needs to do everything they can to keep children in their care healthy.

Even with the loss of parents willing to foster younger children because of the mandate, the state is standing firm. Rather than change their stance on this requirement, they have announced they will increase recruitment.