SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Staring in the fall of 2020, all students heading into the 11th Grade will need to get a booster shot to help prevent meningitis.
This new rule came down from the Georgia Department of Public Health last month.
A letter requiring the booster went out to school districts all around Georgia on May 21. It was from Commissioner and State Health Officer, Dr. Kathleen Toomey.
The MCV4, or meningococcal booster, is meant to strengthen the meningitis vaccine students get entering the 7th Grade, helping to protect them from bacterial meningitis. The only exception for getting the booster is if your child received the first dose of the meningitis vaccine on or after their 16th birthday.
Chatham County’s nurse manager explains why the meningitis vaccine and booster are so important.
“It is very contagious. It can be spread through nose and throat droplets, so if someone coughs or sneezes, kissing, which is why it’s very important with teenagers and young adults, because they tend to share a lot of things,” said Tammi Brown, Chatham County Nurse Manager. “They share drinks, they share makeup, lipstick, they hug, so they’re in close proximity, so that’s why it’s really important for that age group.”
Over the past four years, there have been five cases of invasive meningococcemia in the Coastal Health District’s eight counties. The health department recommends you start making appointments now, because even though most schools just got out, it’s already back to school prep time for boosters and vaccinations.
While you’re at the doctor, be sure to ask your pediatrician or local health department about other shots your child may need, including the Human Papillomavirus series (HPV), tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis shot (an annual flu vaccine), and any catch-up immunizations including chickenpox, MMR, and Hepatitis B.