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With flu season on the way, the Massachusetts Department of Health has decided it doesn’t want to risk a “twindemic” — so it’s issued an order that requires every student in the state to get a flu shot.

“Every year, thousands of people of all ages are affected by influenza, leading to many hospitalizations and deaths,” says Dr. Larry Madoff, a medical director with the department.

“It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19, and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve healthcare resources.”

Home-schooled children and those who object to vaccinations for religious reasons are exempt from the order.

All others are required to be vaccinated by December 31st, Madoff says.