New Jersey parenting group sparks online conversation about proposed school health code changes

Last week, a group called Innovative Parenting New Jersey hosted a livestream event on social media to discuss proposed health code changes at New Jersey schools. A post advertising the event claimed that “medical consent is being attacked.” Some commenters on the post claimed that proposed health codes are solely intended to “control the public” since COVID-19 vaccines—which would be required for students if the changes are approved—“don’t work.” Others encouraged New Jersey parents to homeschool their children to avoid vaccine requirements.

Recommendation: These types of posts may discourage patients in New Jersey from getting recommended vaccines for their children and may cause patients to distrust vaccine guidance from government and public health officials. Messaging with patients may emphasize that recommended vaccines are safe for children and protect them from serious, preventable illnesses. School vaccine requirements protect the health of individual children and their communities, as high vaccine exemption rates correspond with an increase in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Research shows that staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines prevents severe illness, hospitalization, death, and long COVID in people of all ages. The CDC recommends the updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.