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Reminder to Parents: New School Immunization Requirement

Wright County Public Health reminds Wright and surrounding county parents, a new immunization requirement will be in effect next school year 2017-2018 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 with 1 dose received on or after 16 years of age for students in grade 12, if born after September 15, 1999; one dose if received when 16 yr. or older.

"Meningococcal disease is a very serious, life-threatening illness," said Wright County Public Health Immunization Coordinator Julie Richter.  "This vaccine protects against four strains, or 'serogroups' of meningitis, and is 85 to 100 percent effective at preventing infection."  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDE), 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 hearling loss, limb loss, or brain damage.

"This new school immunization requirement is important because the bacteria that caus meningococcal disease are spread through upper respiratory droplets like saliva.  Teens and young adults are at increased risk for meningococcal disease, and meningococcal vaccine is the best protection," said Richter.  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 Wright County Public Health at 515-532-3461 or your local health care providers or local school nurse.  Please check with your insurance for coverage.