By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) – Dozens of parents headed to the State House Sunday to protest the new student flu shot mand ate.Earlier this month, health officials announced that all students six months old through college will be required to get the vaccine by the end of the year.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker says the shots are needed to keep the health care system from getting overwhelmed by coronavirus and seasonal flu.

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A rally against mandatory fly shots in Massachusetts. (WBZ-TV)

The Sunday rally began at about 10 a.m. on Beacon Hill, with hundreds gathering outside the statehouse while hoisting signs and chanting loudly.

“We think that’s complete government overreach, and we’re here to fight for all the kids,” said one parent. “They shouldn’t have to get the flu shot.”

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says the flu shot is “an important step to reduce flu-related illness and the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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“I just think that we should be able to choose what goes into my son’s body,” said Jennifer Cordy, a parent from Beverly who attended the rally with her son. “And we should be able to say yes or say no and government should not choose that for us.”

“I’ve been really stressed out about it, but I’m contemplating having to homeschool until hopefully this gets reversed. But I’m not going to pressure me into getting a flu shot. I don’t get a flu shot, my kids don’t get it,” she continued.

Cordy’s 10-year-old son Xavier added, “I don’t like random things going into my body without my consent.”

The only people excused from the flu shot are for medical reasons, religious reasons or children who are fully homeschooled.

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The deadline to get a flu shot for this school year is December 31.

Paul Burton