7th-12th students need vaccines

Published 10:28 am Friday, May 20, 2016

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, all incoming seventh grade and 12th grade students in Ohio schools must have proof that they have the age-appropriate meningococcal vaccines.

With more than 1,200 students going into seventh and 12th grades throughout Lawrence County this fall, it will benefit you to get your child vaccinated early to beat the rush when starting school.

Why does my child need to be vaccinated? Meningococcal vaccines help protect against the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. These infections don’t happen very often, but can be very dangerous when they do.

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The two most severe and common illnesses caused by these bacteria include infections of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). Even if they get treatment, about 10 to 15 out of 100 people with meningococcal disease will die from it.

Meningococcal disease can spread from person to person. The bacteria that cause this infection can spread when people have close or lengthy contact with someone’s saliva, like through kissing or coughing, especially if they are living in the same place. Teens and young adults are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease can become very serious very quickly. The meningococcal vaccine is the best way to protect teens from getting meningococcal disease.

When should my child be vaccinated? All incoming seventh grade and 12th grade students are required to be vaccinated with the meningococcal vaccine beginning in the 2016-17 school year.

Where can I take my child to be vaccinated? You may talk to your child’s doctor or nurse to learn more about the meningococcal vaccines and other vaccines that your child may need.

The Lawrence County Health Department offers immunizations to those with Medicaid, Anthem insurance or no insurance. We accept walk-ins and appointments daily. Due to the new requirement, we are offering “Beat the Rush” back-to-school, walk-in clinics this summer from 8:30-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. on the following dates: Tuesday, June 21; Tuesday, July 19 and Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 2-3.

The City of Ironton Health Department (740-532-2172) is another resource for immunizations.

We hope to see you before September.

For more information about vaccinations and the diseases they prevent visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov or call Linda Howard, R.N., infectious disease and immunization coordinator for the Lawrence County Health Department at 740-532-3952.


Linda Howard is a registered nurse, immunization and infectious disease coordinator for the Lawrence County Health Department. She can be reached at 740-532-3962.