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Meningitis vaccination required for 12th graders in Nevada

Updated March 9, 2022 - 6:54 pm

Nevada students entering the 12th grade will be required to be vaccinated against meningitis before the next school year begins.

The new requirement for the meningococcal vaccine, approved by the State Board of Health as a state regulation, applies to all public, private and charter schools in Nevada. For most students, this means they’ll need a booster dose, as they likely received a first dose at age 11 to 12, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends a single dose of the vaccine at age 11 to 12 followed by a booster dose at 16.

The vaccine — referred to as MenACWY — protects against meningococcal disease, which is any illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. These illnesses are often severe and can be deadly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, known as meningitis, and of the blood stream.

In 2019, there were about 371 reported cases of meningococcal disease in the U.S., according to the CDC. Anyone can get the disease, but rates are highest in babies under the age of 1 followed by adolescents and young adults.

The requirement in Nevada goes into effect after June 30. Students with appropriate medical conditions may receive temporary or permanent medical exemptions if authorized by their physicians. Exemptions are administered at the school district level.

The vaccine will help keep students safe, said Kristy Zigenis, program manager for the Nevada State Immunization Program.

“We also remind all parents to review the vaccination schedule for children and speak to a trusted health care provider if you have any questions about the recommendations,” Zigenis said in a news release.

Vaccines are available through primary care providers, pharmacies, health districts and federally qualified health centers throughout Nevada. For more information or to find a vaccine clinic, visit immunizenevada.org.

Immunization records can be accessed through the Nevada WebIZ public portal at IZRecord.nv.gov. The Nevada WebIZ helpdesk can also provide assistance at 775-684-5954.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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