On April 3, 2019, the Georgia Department of Education forwarded a letter from the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Commissioner, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, regarding meningococcal disease and important changes in school vaccination requirements.
Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects the brain and the spinal cord in the form of meningitis, and the bloodstream in the form of septicemia. It can cause shock, coma, and death within hours of the first symptoms.
To help protect our students and others from meningococcal disease, Georgia law will soon require students be vaccinated against this disease unless the child has an exemption.
Effective July 1, 2020, children 16 years of age and older who are entering the 11th grade (including new entrants) must have received one booster dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), unless their initial dose was administered on or after their 16th birthday.
If students have not been vaccinated against meningococcal disease, we strongly recommend they visit their doctor or health care provider to get their MCV4 booster shot. Getting MCV4 now will not only help protect students against the ongoing threat of meningitis but will also meet the new school entry requirement.
Talk with your child’s pediatrician or local health department about meningococcal and other vaccines your child may need, including:
Parents of students without health insurance or those whose health plan does not cover these vaccines, may call your local health department and ask about getting no or low cost vaccines.
For more information, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/vaccines-children or call (800)-848-3868.