Senate bill would keep children safe

Published 12:57 am Sunday, July 26, 2015

Earlier this month, Gov. John Kasich signed a new law that would require Ohio school children to be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis. This would begin for the 2016-17 school year.

Senate Bill 121 added the meningitis vaccine to the list of already required immunizations, such as measles and mumps.

This is an important step forward for keeping children safe and healthy from serious but preventable diseases.

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Current state law already requires students in on-campus housing at public universities to tell administrators whether they have been vaccinated for meningitis. And that’s for a good reason. Meningitis becomes serious very quickly and can kill within 48 hours.

Bacterial meningitis can cause inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, a blood infection, or both. The disease can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms like headache, fever and nausea can be similar to those of more common conditions like the flu. People of any age can get meningitis, but those most at risk include very young children, adolescents and those living in close quarters, like college dormitories.

While the bill allows for exemptions should parents choose to opt out of the vaccine, providing children with immunizations and vaccines is just the right thing to do for the health of their children and the entire community.

There is no reason any one child or population of people should suffer serious health issues or even death when solutions are readily available to prevent them.