Meningitis Booster Required for 11th Graders
Effective July 1, 2021, across the state of Georgia, children 16 years of age and older, who are entering the 11th grade public schools, (including new entrants), must have received one booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), unless their initial dose was administered on or after their 16th birthday.
State Health Officer Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., noted that meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis can cause shock, coma and death within hours of the first symptoms. “If your teen has not been vaccinated against meningococcal disease, we strongly recommend getting your 11th grader, aged 16 years or older, vaccinated before starting the 2021-2022 school year,” Toomey said.
Getting MCV4 (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) now will not only help protect a child against the ongoing threat of meningitis, it will also meet the new school entry requirement.
Parents are urged to ask their child’s pediatrician or local health department about other shots the child may need including: human papillomavi –
rus (HPV) series
pertussis shot (Tdap or Td booster)
annual ffiu vaccine;
catch-up immuni zations, including chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and hepatitis B.
For those who do not have health insurance or if their health plan won’t cover these vaccines, assistance may be available. They can call their local health department and ask about getting no cost or low cost vaccines. For more information, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/ vaccines-children or call (800) 848-3868.