from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey moved toward becoming the first state to require flu shots for preschoolers on Monday after a health advisory board backed new vaccine mandates over the opposition of worried parents.

The Public Health Council voted to require New Jersey children attending preschool or licensed day care to get annual flu shots, and to get three additional vaccines for youngsters starting Sept. 1, 2008.

No other state requires preschool, day care or older students to get flu shots, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

State health officials want preschoolers to get the flu shots because their immune systems are not as developed as older kids and because they are more likely to transmit the flu virus.

The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Fred M. Jacobs, has until Dec. 18 to sign off on the mandates, though they have already been approved by Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Health Department spokesman Tom Slater said Jacobs was expected sign off on the proposal.

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