DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Beginning this school year, immunization requirements for students in 7th and 12th grade are changing.
The Ohio Department of Health is requiring students to get the MCV4 vaccine to prevent Meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that is the leading cause of meningitis in children 2 – 18 years old in the U.S.
“It’s a very serious disease that spreads very rapidly and has very devastating effects,” said Immunization Coordinator Donna Youtz with Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County.
Health officials are urging parents to get the MVC4 vaccination as soon as possible.
“You can go from well in the evening to feeling a little ill, like you have the flu, a little feverish, achy and be in the hospital on the brink of death the next morning,” Youtz said.
Prompting the Ohio Department of Health to mandate all 7th and 12th grade students by law to get a dose of the MCV4 vaccine for the 2016-2017 school year.
“It’s rare, but when it happens it’s very serious 10-15 out of 100 people who get it will die and out of the ones that survive 10-20 out of 100 will have devastating effects such as loss of limbs, deafness, brain damage so it progresses very rapidly. It’s hard to diagnose in the early stages when it can be treated and therefore it’s best to just prevent it with a vaccine,” she said.
Youtz said the vaccine is not new, but the law requiring it is.
“T-dap vaccine is required for 7th grade and that is the same age that this vaccine is recommended at 11-12 years of age so that just goes along with while they’re getting their other vaccines they can get this vaccine also. The 12th grade was added because the highest risk is when they go off to college and they’re in close contact with others, such as dormitories, classrooms in college and things. So the incidents in college are higher than other populations so there for it’s best to get it when you enter 12th grade before you go off to college.”
Students will not be allowed to return to school this fall without the vaccine, so parents are urged to make an appointment sooner rather than later.