The Iowa Department of Public Health issued new requirements for the meningococcal vaccine effective January 11, 2017, to be implemented at the start of the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.
All students entering 7th grade and born after September 15, 2004, need proof of a pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination – called Tdap – and a meningococcal vaccination. If a student is entering 8th through 11th grades next year, he or she was most likely born before September 15, 2004, and, therefore, will not be affected by this requirement.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, in addition to a first dose of the vaccine, now all students entering 12th grade and born after September 15, 1999, will need proof of a second dose of meningococcal vaccine.
This vaccine protects students against several meningococcal serogroups. The CDC states that in most instances, the spread of germs for bacterial meningitis is from person to person. These increased requirements will help students be better protected against the virus.
As the summer winds down, the Grinnell Regional Public Health department sees a flurry of activity trying to make sure students are up to date before classes begin. Immunizations are available by appointment only and fill up quickly, particularly those held during the evening. Don’t wait until the end of summer to schedule an appointment; call Grinnell Regional Public Health at 641-236-2385.
Next week will be National Infant Immunization Week. Infant vaccination is crucial for promoting a healthy child and a healthy community. In fact, according to the CDC, routine childhood immunization in one age bracket prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths. It also saves about $13.5 billion in direct costs.
Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community.