Greene County Public Health Reminds Parents of New Immunization Requirement

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Greene County Public Health reminds Greene County parents that a new immunization requirement will be in effect next school year for all students enrolling in 7th and 12th grades. 

A letter with necessary paperwork was sent out to all parents in April.  Public Health is offering in-school vaccine opportunities on May 25 for current 6th graders (at the intermediate school) and on May 26 for current 11th graders (at the high school).  Public Health Director Becky Wolf reminds all parents that necessary signed paperwork for students was to be turned in by April 24.  Wolf encourages all parents to sign the paperwork and turn it in prior to the May in-school opportunities.

The new requirement is 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; or one dose if received when students are 16 years of age or older.

This requirement is effective for the 2017-2018 school year and parents should take advantage of the in-school vaccine opportunity.  The cost of the vaccination will be billed to the student’s parents’ insurance carrier.

“Meningococcal disease is a very serious, life-threatening illness,” said Wolf.  “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, 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 causes meningococcal disease is 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 Wolf.  As with all vaccinations, this immunization not only protects the individual, but also anyone the individual interacts with.

For more information on the new meningitis vaccine requirement, visit http://www.idph.iowa.gov/immtb/immunization/laws. If you have questions about immunizations, contact Greene County Public Health at 515-386-3228.