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October 23, 2017

news

Posted 7/21/17

Meningitis vaccination required in grades 7 or 8 and 12

Students entering seventh or eighth and 12th grades must be vaccinated against meningococcal disease in order to attend school in New York state.

According to the state Department of Health:

— One dose of meningococcal vaccine is required for students who will be in seventh or eighth grade. If your child had the first dose before seventh grade, then another dose is not required until 12th grade.
— Two doses will be required before 12th grade. Most students entering 12th grade got their first dose when they were younger and are now due for their second dose, or booster. This booster is needed because protection from the vaccine decreases over time.
A small number of teens who received two doses before their 16th birthday may need a third dose on or after their 16th birthday in order to enter 12th grade.
— The only teens who will not need a second dose before 12th grade are those who got their first dose on or after their 16th birthday.
It's best to check with your doctor to see whether or not your child needs the vaccine. Students who are not up-to-date will not be allowed to attend school until they are vaccinated.

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection that can lead to meningitis (inflammation of the lining covering the brain and spinal cord) and bloodstream infections such as septicemia. Symptoms of the disease include a high fever, headache, vomiting, a stiff neck and a rash. The meningococcus bacterium is treatable with antibiotics, but each year it causes approximately 2,500 infections and 300 deaths in the United States. Those who contract the disease may experience permanent brain damage, hearing loss, kidney failure, loss of arms or legs, or chronic nervous system problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found the highest rates of meningococcal disease to be among preteens, teens, and young adults, as well as among infants with certain medical conditions. The new law targets many in this age group and aligns with the CDC’s recommendation to vaccinate 11- to 18-year-olds against meningococcal disease.

Learn more about meningococcal disease and the meningococcal disease vaccine at the links below:

Meningococcal disease information (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Meningococcal disease fact sheet (New York State Department of Health)

Childhood and Adolescent Immunizations (New York State Department of Health)

Recommended vaccinations for children aged 11-19 years (New York State Department of Health)

State law requiring immunizations against meningococcal disease (New York State Assembly)