For the first time, flu shots will be mandatory for students to attend Defense Department schools in Europe, education officials announced this week.
The immunization policy, mandated by U.S. European Command, covers both the seasonal and swine flu viruses and applies to teachers and employees at more than 80 Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe, as well as 30,000 students. Children older than 6 months enrolled in base daycare centers and daycare center workers throughout Europe also are affected by the move...
DODDS-Europe students already are required to get certain vaccinations for such viruses as polio, measles, mumps and rubella. Until now, however, the flu immunization, has been “highly encouraged,” but optional, a DODDS-Europe official said...
Requiring stateside family members associated with the military to get the vaccine when others in their community aren’t would likely cause “a tremendous amount of resistance” from teachers, students and parents, Kilpatrick said.
Mandatory inoculations may meet with less resistance overseas, where a military community tends to rely on the base for its health care, he said. In the States, even military families may have a civilian doctor “and parents get torn between medical communities...”
EUCOM is enforcing the policy because “our mission is to protect the health and safety of our beneficiaries,” Wyatt said.
When a child gets sick, that can take a parent who has to stay home away from the mission, he said.
“It’s about protecting the mission, as well...”