Meningitis vaccination requirements to come in 2014

Meningitis vaccination requirements to come in 2014


According to nurse coordinator Kandyce Hardie, current juniors who have not received a meningitis vaccine before their 16th birthday will be required to receive one before school starts next year. She said because of the new government-imposed law, the health center is encouraging students to get their vaccines soon as a preventative measure.

Nurse coordinator Kandyce Hardie goes over a student’s immunization records. Starting next school year, the meningitis vaccine will be among the immunizations required by this school. ALLY RUSSELL / PHOTO

“In the past, you’ve always had to have one before college, but now, next year, they’re requiring that our (next year’s) seniors get them so that they’re covered here at school,” Hardie said. “Because the law’s changing in a year, we’re just trying to give a push this summer. We’re not trying to respond or react to something that happened; we’re really just trying to prevent it.”

According to Hardie, it is important to take preventative actions because meningitis can be contagious and harmful.

“Meningitis is typically spread in areas where there are lots of people who work closely together, so it’s very common to have meningitis in secondary education like in colleges because people live in dormitories, and it’s common in school systems because students are working so closely together,” Hardie said. “Meningitis is scary just because it can lead to brain damage; it can make you very, very ill; but the simple thing about meningitis is that if you get a vaccine, you won’t get it.”

e.fernando.meningitissymptomHowever, some students like senior Alexander Neely said they  do not support the new vaccination requirement. Neely said the responsibility to get vaccinated rests in the hands of the parents and students, rather than the government.e.yu.meningitismap

“It shouldn’t be a requirement,” Neely said. “The government is here to protect, not to decide what we have to get for high school, what we have to do for shots and stuff like that. It’s contradicting because it is the school’s responsibilities to keep public health in check, and this new requirement could be a way of doing that, (but) at the same time, it should be the parents’ responsibilities.”

Nonetheless, Hardie said students should still get the shot when they can, such as during annual physicals. She also said the nurses are willing to help students find out if they need it.

“We’re willing to help if a student unsure if they need it or not, we’re happy to look for them and let them know,” she said. “I would just advise them to get it as soon as possible before next year because the school has to take measures against those who don’t receive it in time, so we don’t want that to happen.”