Bill makes Meningitis vaccine mandatory for students entering seventh or 12th grades

Bill makes Meningitis vaccine mandatory for students entering seventh or 12th grades

Under a bill passed this week by the State Legislature, seventh graders in New York State will be required to be vaccinated for meningitis.

The bill would necessitate students to enter seventh grade to receive the meningitis vaccine. A booster shot will be given in the 12th grade.

Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain and the spinal cord, which can also cause blood infections. It can spread through kissing, or drinking from the same cup.

It can also prove fatal in one out of 10 cases and leaves one in seven survivors with a severe disability like amputation, paralysis or seizures.

Bill's prime sponsor, Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther, a Democrat from Sullivan County said that the bill had been passed after testimony from medical experts as well as from several people who had lost children to meningitis. Gunther added that it's a disaster and the science indicates that it can do something to prevent it.

The vaccine is required by more than 20 states. According to CDC, 1,000 people annually get the disease and up to 15% die. Infections inflame membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

The bill was opposed by some people who believe that vaccination can cause autism. However, Ms. Gunther said this particular vaccine would be administered long after the period when autism typically develops and is diagnosed. Parents can apply to their child's school for a religious exemption from the requirement with other authorized vaccines.

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