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New Law Requires Meningitis Vaccine For Illinois Students

University of Oregon

A vaccine that’s already widely used to prevent meningitis will be required for young people in Illinois under a new law. The recently signed law requires Illinois school children to receive the vaccinewhen entering 6th grade, and to get two doses when entering 12th grade.

Brandon Meline of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District says it’s important that young people get vaccinated for meningitis more than once. He says health officials are learning that a one-time vaccine may not be enough to protect kids from the potentially fatal disease.

“Usually, when you get a two-dose series such as this, the first dose acts as a primer and protects pretty darn well with one dose. But that second dose, at three to five years later, is really acting as the booster and really revving up that immune system and getting that full protection,” Meline said.

Meline says enforcement of the new, mandatory, meningitis shots could start as soon as next fall  --- but could be delayed to give more time to draw up regulations.