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New law requires rising 11th graders to get meningococcal vaccine

New law requires rising 11th graders to get meningococcal vaccine
New law requires rising 11th graders to get meningococcal vaccine
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 10:50 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - COVID restrictions are loosening in the Peach State, and a new law is requiring rising 11th graders going back to school to get a new vaccine, not for the coronavirus.

It may be hard to think about it now, but with the school year a little less than a month away, health officials say now is the time to get your child the meningococcal vaccine.

In fact, the new law actually went into effect on July 1st.

“When you have a crowd waiting in your lobby but you also know there are other parents getting frustrated…,” said Valerie Scruggs-Profitt, RN at the Columbus Health Department.

Health officials at the Columbus Health Department are encouraging parents to get ahead of the curve this year with getting your child vaccinated. This comes as a new law now requires an additional vaccine for rising 11th graders.

“It was actually going to go into effect last year but because of the pandemic they postponed it. But this year it is a requirement to get that meningococcal vaccine,” said spokesperson for the Columbus Health Department, Pamela Kirkland.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects the brain and the spinal cord.

“It can actually become deadly within 48-hours of contraction,” said Scruggs-Profitt.

Making sure your child is vaccinated raises their immunity against the disease that targets young people by almost 100 percent after a second booster shot.

And it could be free, along with other vaccines through the federal Vaccines for Children program.

As a reminder parents must make an appointment Monday through Friday at the Columbus Health Department 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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