Meningitis vaccine to be required for students

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) has been signed into law and will require students in the sixth and 12th grades to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

“I passed this legislation because I think students who can be immunized against this communicable disease should be,” said Jacobs. “Meningococcal disease can be deadly to those infected in a very short amount of time, even with treatment, so I think that if we can prevent it, we should.”

This need for this legislation was brought to Jacobs’ attention when a student, Savon Smith, passed away from the infection in May of this year. Savon was a 16 year-old student at the Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School in Chicago.

House Bill 3190 will require students to receive an immunization containing meningococcal conjugate vaccine upon entering the sixth and 12th grade of any public, private or parochial school.

The vaccine must meet the standards approved by the U.S. Public Health Services and be in accordance with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The immunization must consist of one dose of the MCV4 vaccine for sixth-grade entrance and two doses for 12th-grade entrance.

There are approximately 2,000–3,000 cases of me­ningococcal disease each year in the United States. An estimated 110 deaths from meningococcal dis­ease occurred in the United States in 2009.

The proportion of cases in adolescents and young adults has increased in recent years; the rate of infectious disease among people age 17–20 is about twice that of the general U.S. population.