State requires two doses of meningitis vaccination before grade 12

New York state law requires immunizations against meningococcal disease for children at ages 11 or 12 and again at 16 years of age or older, as recommended by the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Does your child need to be vaccinated before the start of the 2018-19 school year to meet this requirement?

The answer depends on more than just your child’s age and grade level. When, or if, a child has previously been vaccinated for meningococcal disease will determine when shots will be necessary under the state’s requirements.

For the 2018-19 school year, the following requirements apply:

  • For students enrolling in grades 7-9, one dose of the vaccine is required.
  • For students enrolling in grade 12, two doses of the vaccine are required
  • The second dose needs to be given on or after a student’s 16th birthday.
  • Teens who received their first dose on or after their 16th birthday do not need another dose.

In 2019-20, students in grades 7, 8, 9, and 10 will be required to have one dose.

In 2020-21 and later years, students in grades 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 will be required to have one dose.

Parents are encouraged to check with their children’s physicians prior to the start of the new school year to determine when or if they need to be vaccinated.

Students not up-to-date may not be allowed to attend school until they are vaccinated.

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection that can lead to meningitis (inflammation of the lining covering the brain and spinal cord) and bloodstream infections such as septicemia. Symptoms of the disease include a high fever, headache, vomiting, a stiff neck and a rash. The meningococcus bacterium is treatable with antibiotics, but each year it causes approximately 2,500 infections and 300 deaths in the United States. Those who contract the disease may experience permanent brain damage, hearing loss, kidney failure, loss of arms or legs, or chronic nervous system problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found the highest rates of meningococcal disease to be among preteens, teens, and young adults, as well as among infants with certain medical conditions. The immunization requirement targets many in this age group and aligns with the CDC’s recommendation to vaccinate 11- to 18-year-olds against meningococcal disease.