State adds a vaccine requirement for students

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COLUMBIA — Missouri school immunization requirements for students are changing. 

Students entering eighth grade and twelfth grade are required to have the MCV Meningococcal (Meningitis) vaccine for the 2016-2017 school year. 

"Two doses of MCV is required, unless the first dose was administered to a student who was 16 years of age or older, in which case only one dose is required," according to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 through 18 years old in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain and the spinal cord."

"If you don't know a lot about meningitis, it's really a scary disease," Nursing Supervisor for Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Trina Teacutter said. "People lose their limbs sometimes, have to have amputations, and a lot of folks that get it end up dying or being in the hospital."

The disease is most common in infants in less than one year old and those between the ages of 16 and 21. 

"That age of a student is at much higher risk for contracting meningitis," she said.

"There are requirements for children entering kindergarten, for children entering eighth grade and now there is this meningitis requirement for students entering twelfth grade," she said. "Those are the traditional grades that we know vaccines are required to enter school. If your child is up to date and in other grades other than kindergarten, eight or twelfth or going in to those grades than your child is probably fine if the school hasn't let you know you need additional vaccines."

Other changes for the 2016- 2017 school year are the following according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services:

  • "Kindergarten-6 grade: Last dose must be administered on or after the fourth birthday. The interval between the next to-last and last dose should be at least six months." (Previously Kindergarten-5 Grade) "7-12 Grades: Last does on or after the fourth birthday. If all four doses are administered appropriately and recieved prior to the fourth birthday, an addditional dose is not needed. Any combination of four doses of IPV and OPV by four-six years of age constitutes a complete series. Maximum needed: four doses." (Previously 6-12)
  • "Kindergarten-6 Grade: As satisfactory evidence of disease, a licensed health care provider may sign and place on file with the school a written statement documenting the month and year of previous varicella (chickenpox) disease. (Previously Kindergarten-5 Grade)
  • "7-11 Grades: As satisfactory evidence of disease, a parent/guardian or MD or DO may sign and place on file with the school a written statement documenting the month and year of previous varicella (chickenpox) disease." (Previously 6-10 Grades)

To find out what vaccines your child needs, you can look at the 2016-2017 Missouri School Immunization Requirements from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. 

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