Linn County Public Health reminds Linn County parents a new immunization requirement will be in effect next school year for all students enrolling in 7th and 12th grades. The change requires a one-time dose of meningococcal (A, C, W, Y) vaccine received on or after 10 years of age for students in grades 7 and above, if born after September 15, 2004; and two doses of meningococcal (A, C, W, Y) vaccines for students in grade 12, if born after September 15, 1999; or one dose if received when students are 16 years-of-age or older. This requirement is in effect for the 2017-2018 school year, so parents should plan now for the upcoming school year.
“Meningococcal disease is a very serious, life-threatening illness,” said Linn County Public Health Director Pramod Dwivedi. “This vaccine protects against four strains, or ‘serogroups’ of meningitis, and is 85 to 100 percent effective at preventing infection by them.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 to 15 percent of people with meningococcal disease die, even with appropriate treatment. Of those who recover, up to 20 percent have serious after-effects like permanent hearing loss, limb loss, or brain damage.
“This new school immunization requirement is important because the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease are spread through upper respiratory droplets like saliva (through kissing, sharing soft drinks, etc.) – the kind of behaviors common to middle school and high school-aged students,” said Dwivedi. As with all vaccinations, this immunization not only protects the individual, but also their friends and those around them.
For more information on the new meningitis vaccine requirement and for other school vaccine information, visit http://www.idph.iowa.gov/immtb/immunization/laws. If you have questions about immunizations, contact your school nurse or Linn County Public Health at 319-892-6095.