The booster meningococcal meningitis vaccine (MenACWY) is a requirement for teens who are either 17 years old or who are entering their senior year of high school (12th grade) effective as of August 1st, 2020. The booster requirement protects against four types of bacteria, which are A, C, W, and Y. In previous years, the requirement for the meningitis vaccine was for those students who were 12 years old or who were entering into the seventh grade, whichever was first. The new immunization rule is in effect for the 2020-2021 school year.
According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services website, Kelly Kimple, M.D. says that “The MenACWY vaccine is the best protection against meningococcal disease, which most often affects young people.” Dr. Kimple also said that “It is vital that children and adolescents continue to receive all their immunizations on schedule to ensure they are fully protected against all vaccine-preventable diseases, including some of the major causes of meningitis.”
The requirement for children ages 11-12 years old is to receive one dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine and then the booster (second dose) of MenACWY at the age of 16 when entering 12th grade or by 17 years of age, whichever is first. If an adolescent receives a dose of the MenACWY on or after their 16th birthday, they do not need a booster dose.
Parents of adolescents who fall into these age categories need to provide an up-to-date immunization record indicating that their child has received this required immunization. The record is due by the first day of school attendance. If the proof of immunization is not provided within 30 calendar days after your child has entered the school, your student will not be able to attend classes until it is provided, as required by law.
How do I get my child’s vaccine?
Your child will be able to get the meningitis vaccine through a nurse visit only with a separate virtual well-child visit. If, however, you are going to need a sport, employment, or school physical, your provider will need to do the well-child check in person by law in order to complete the physical form.
Dr. Margaret Martin (left), CFMC’s Pediatrician, often invites “Eli”, her therapy bird to come along on a virtual visit with her pediatric patients. Dr. Martin loves to incorporate her therapy animals and the pediatric patients love it!
What about COVID? Are we safe when visiting our provider?
We assure you that we are able to keep you and your child safe when you come into the medical center for your visit. We screen everyone who is scheduled for a visit prior to entering the building and we do not allow siblings to be brought in with the patient. Only one caregiver is able to accompany the patient inside. We haven’t had an infection traceable to a visit to CFMC or JAHC.
What exactly does the meningitis vaccine protect against?
The MenACWY vaccine protects against bacteria that cause meningococcal disease and from infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, as well as infections in the bloodstream, which can be rapidly fatal. The vaccine also protects against long-term disabilities for those who survive the meningococcal disease.
Is meningitis a common disease?
Meningococcal disease is an uncommon, but dangerous infection and can often strike without any warning. Approximately 1 out of every 10 people who get meningitis die from it.
Can meningitis spread?
One reason why the meningitis vaccine is important is that it can spread if you have close or lengthy contact with anyone’s saliva, such as coughing, kissing, etc. Teens and young adults are at an increased risk for meningococcal disease. It becomes VERY serious, very quickly.
How do I show proof of my child’s vaccination?
Your provider at CFMC provides a certificate of immunization to you when you bring your child in for immunization. A copy of that certificate should then be shown to your child’s school so they can see proof of the vaccination.
What if I can’t afford immunizations?
CFMC is here to help. We take all forms of insurance as well as offer a sliding fee scale to those who qualify. We want you and your family safe and healthy.