A (New) Requirement

33719608 little boy looking at his arm, while receiving vaccineThe start of the school year will be here before you know it! Back-to-school time is busy, however, if you have a child entering seventh or twelfth grade, it is vital they receive the meningitis vaccine before going to school.

All students entering or transferring into seventh grade and born after September 15, 2004 will need proof of one dose of meningitis vaccine on or after their tenth birthday. All students entering or transferring into twelfth grade and born after September 15, 1999 will need proof of one dose of meningitis vaccine on or after their sixteenth birthday.

Those students who do not have proof of at least one dose the meningitis vaccine will not be allowed to start school on the first day of the school year. This means not attending school or participating in any school functions such as sports, band, chorus or going to dances and other school activities.  Hundreds of students have already been vaccinated and many more have scheduled their appointments. Have you scheduled your child’s appointment yet?

Why get another vaccination?

Teenagers have the highest rates of meningitis in the United States. The disease is spread person to person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit) during close or lengthy contact. (coughing or kissing). As many of you know, teens spend extended time together in close settings like school or sports. Meningitis is a very serious disease. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of people die from meningitis even with appropriate treatment. Of those who recover, up to 20 percent suffer from serious after effects, such as permanent hearing loss, limb loss, or brain damage. The vaccines are very safe and effective at preventing meningitis. The vaccine is 85 – 100 percent effective at preventing the meningitis infection.

Make your child’s appointment now to see their health care provider for the meningitis vaccine.  Do not wait, as appointments will fill up fast and your child may not be able to see their provider in time. If you do not have health insurance, please call the Polk County Health Department at (515) 286-3798. Your child can qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program and receive the vaccine at little cost. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your school nurse.

Additional Resources

Meningococcal Vaccine FAQs

Iowa Dept. of Public Health Immunization Requirements

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