MA health dept. withdraws flu shot mandate

As of today, January 15, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has withdrawn the mandate for all students to receive an influenza vaccine.  An ICAN-funded lawsuit brought about this amazing development for all in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

lawsuit funded by ICAN, brought against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), to challenge the legality of a flu shot vaccine mandate for all children in childcare and all students in school, ages 6 months through 29 years old.  Episode 197’s Legal Update segment explained the legal bases for the lawsuit. 

On the same day that the DPH was to file its response to the lawsuit with the Court — including responding to a request for a preliminary injunction striking the flu shot mandate — the DPH capitulated and withdrew the mandate in its entirety!  This means that NO STUDENT will be MANDATED to receive the flu vaccine in order to attend school! 

The DPH’s updated list of required vaccines does not contain influenza vaccine.  This is an enormous and significant victory and a huge relief for thousands of individuals and families across Massachusetts who had been backed into a corner by the DPH’s fiat. 

The DPH first showed signs of weakness when, within days of being sued and the Court ordering an expedited hearing, it pushed back the original December 31, 2020 deadline for receipt of the vaccine to February 28, 2021. 

Then, yesterday, the day before the DPH was due to submit its opposition to the Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, its attorneys contacted ICAN’s legal team, to inform them that the mandate would be withdrawn.  Today, the DPH has done just that

ICAN is beyond proud that its funding and its legal work continues to make real life changes for real people every day. Victories like this will continue to motivate us to never rest and to always stand up for informed consent and people’s right to choose! 

Information obtained from


At a time when trust in public health authorities is rapidly falling, did the Massachusetts Department of Public Health choose to misrepresent to the public the reason it eliminated its influenza vaccine requirement on January 15, 2021?

Last week, we reported to you about a lawsuit funded by ICAN, brought against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), to challenge the legality of its influenza vaccine mandate for childcare, schoolchildren, and college students.  The DPH was required to file its opposition by January 15, 2021 explaining why the Court should not issue an injunction preventing the DPH from enforcing its influenza vaccine mandate.  On January 14, 2021, the attorneys for the DPH called the attorneys for plaintiffs to inform them that the DPH would be dropping the influenza vaccine requirement.  

On January 15, 2021, the date that it was to file its opposition with the Court, the DPH dropped the influenza vaccine requirement and released a media narrative around the reason for dropping this requirement.  It claimed publicly that the mandate was withdrawn because “preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date” and to “alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination.”   If a mild flu season is a reason to not require an influenza vaccine, then why is Massachusetts the only state to drop its influenza vaccine requirement? 

Also, it has been a very mild chicken pox season in Massachusetts – how come they did not drop their chicken pox vaccine requirement? As for alleviating the burden, that is nonsensical.  Massachusetts influenza vaccine uptake, prior to any mandate in the 2019-20 flu season, is 76.6% for minors, the third highest in the nation, and 56.8% for adults, the highest in the nation.  Again, why is no other state dropping its influenza vaccine requirement and what burden are they talking about?    

While it appears the DPH was comfortable with giving these reasons to the public, it apparently did not have the gumption to repeat these reasons in a sworn affidavit to the Court.  That affidavit explained to the Court that the requirement had been dropped but did not swear to the purported reason it was dropped.  Was that because the DPH did not want to commit perjury?  The DOH should come clean about the reason that it really dropped the requirement – but it won’t.  It will defend its chosen position even when the truth is obvious.  The final court filing formally ending the lawsuit is available here. Shame on the individuals running the DPH for further corrupting our health agencies. 

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