About a thousand people demonstrated in Boston on Sunday against the new requirement for Massachusetts students to be vaccinated against the flu, which aims to limit the impact of a possible second wave of coronavirus.
The Massachusetts authorities, led by Republican Governor Charlie Baker, very critical of Donald Trump, were the first in the United States to add, on August 19, the flu to the list of vaccines required for pupils and students from the beginning. six months old. Those showing a medical or religious contraindication, who are home-schooled or whose teaching will be 100% virtual, are exempt.
But the protesters, who gathered peacefully outside the governor’s seat, mostly unmasked, denounced an attack on individual rights, as some 70% of Massachusetts school districts plan to at least partially reopen their schools. in September.
Among the demonstrators were many parents who came with their children, or representatives of paramedical professions, such as Carla Leclerc, physiotherapist.
“I am firmly against any forced vaccination, but more particularly against the flu, a vaccine which is neither safe, nor necessary, nor effective,” she told AFP.
If the forced vaccination is maintained in Massachusetts despite the opposition it has generated, “it will set a precedent for other states,” she added.
Some protesters also carried flags calling for Trump to be re-elected in November, while others still carried T-shirts marked with the letter “Q” for the conspiratorial far-right “QAnon”.
Many senior U.S. health officials, including Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), have called on Americans to get the flu shot this year to avoid making the crisis even worse. coronavirus, without calling for it to be an obligation.
Americans are among the most vaccinated against influenza in the world: vaccination is recommended from the age of six months, when other countries, including France, recommend it to people at risk of complications, including those over 65 .
Massachusetts, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in the spring like other states in the Northeast, is now among those where it is now under control.