New York state now requires students entering seventh and 12th
grades to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease.
Does your child need to be vaccinated before the start of the
2016-17 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 new requirements that go into effect Sept. 1,
• One dose of meningococcal vaccine before seventh grade. If a
student had the first dose as a sixth grader, then another dose is
not required until grade 12.
• A total of two doses are required before grade 12. Most students
entering grade 12 received their first dose when they were younger
and will be due for their second dose, or booster. This booster is
needed because protection from the vaccine decreases over time.
• The only teens who will not need a second dose before grade 12
are those who received their first dose on or after their 16th
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.
In October, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a law that 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.
Students not up-to-date will 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
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 new law targets many in this age group and
aligns with the CDC’s recommendation to vaccinate 11- to
18-year-olds against meningococcal disease.
Learn more about meningococcal disease and the meningococcal
disease vaccine at the links below:
● Meningococcal disease information (Centers for Disease Control
●Meningococcal disease fact sheet (New York State Department of
●Childhood and Adolescent Immunizations (New York State
Department of Health)
●State law requiring immunizations against meningococcal disease
(New York State Assembly)
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