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No Flu Shot? Proposed AR Regulations Could Make it a Must

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- October to May is the eight-month period each year known as the flu season, with the peak hitting in February. And with the number of flu-related deaths on the rise in the Natural State, a new push to make the flu shot a requirement, is getting the attention of lawmakers.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- October to May is the eight-month period each year known as the flu season.

Recently, there has been a push for adults to get the vaccine as the number of flu-related deaths rises in the Natural State. A push for new regulations could make a vaccination a must if state lawmakers get their way.

Cooper Hayes is 7 months old and his mother Elizabeth said he has been diagnosed with the flu.

Elizabeth wondered how her baby got the flu, but she said it's difficult not to think it came from her daycare.

"It's hard whenever you drop your child off at daycare, and its 6 in the morning or 6:30, and you have to get to work and a worker says, 'Oh I just can't get over this cold,' well what am I supposed to do?" she said. "I just don't know what to do."

In Arkansas, child care workers are not mandated to have the flu shot.

"Our guidelines are that we strongly recommend that those workers be immunized," said Dr. Gary Wheeler from the Arkansas Health Department.

According to Amy Webb from the Department of Human Services, new regulations could be on the way.

"We have drafted the regulations that would require flu vaccinations for childcare workers, and we have had a couple of public meetings with providers," she said.

Webb added that these regulations could be passed as early as next flu season. The regulations will head to the legislature soon for committee meetings and public comment, before being passed by lawmakers.

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