New law for meningitis vaccinations

Starting January first next year, kids entering 6th and 12th grades will be required to get a meningitis vaccination.

As your kids get older they naturally want to hang out with groups of friends at school and other places.

Although that can be great for their social life, it's not so good when it comes to communicable diseases like meningitis.

That's according to Shay Drummond, the director of clinical and environmental services at the Adams County Health Department.

" This is a time when children start to spend more time in group settings and then they are more susceptible to the transmission of this bacterial meningococcal disease," says Drummond. " It's spread through sneezing, contact with one another. So by getting them at the 6th grade and again with the second vaccine for a booster.Then they'll be covered as they go on to the college years."

Health officials at WIU in Macomb agree with that.

Mary Margaret Harris is the director of the Beu Health Center.

" Directly it will not have an effect on our enrollment requirements here at Western," says Harris But indirectly it should be a positive benefit because we'll be seeing more people being immunized and protected against bacterial meningitis."

Shay Drummnond says that the effects of the disease can be very severe.

" This particular meningococcal disease actually effect anywhere from 1,00 to 1,500 children every year," says Drummond. "Of that 10-15% result in death. So that's a very high percentage of deaths related to the number contracting the disease. Of that same number almost 20% result in the loss of limbs from the disease process."

Before the new law, the vaccine was only offered as an option to parents.

Although the law officially goes into effect on January 1st of 2014, Drummond says that it will not be fully in place for school requirements until July.

That gives parents another 6 or 7 months to make sure their kids are covered.

The Adams County Health Department has also expanded it's clinic hours.

It is open Monday from 8am to 6pm and Tuesday through Friday from 8am to 4pm.