Dept. of Health issues 30-day grace period after
school entry for meningococcal disease vaccination
August 10, 2016 -
New York state now requires students entering seventh and 12th grades to
be vaccinated against meningococcal disease.
Does your child need to be vaccinated for the 2016-17 school year to
meet this requirement?
The answer depends on more than just your child’s age and grade level.
When, or if, a child has previously been vaccinated for meningococcal
disease will determine when shots will be necessary under the state’s
new requirements that went into effect Sept. 1, 2016:
• One dose of meningococcal vaccine before seventh grade. If a student
had the first dose as a sixth grader, then another dose is not required
until grade 12.
• A total of two doses are required before grade 12. Most students
entering grade 12 received their first dose when they were younger and
will be due for their second dose, or booster. This booster is needed
because protection from the vaccine decreases over time.
• The only teens who will not need a second dose before grade 12 are
those who received their first dose on or after their 16th birthday.
On Sept. 21, 2016, the New York State Department of Health
issued a notice that it would allow a 30-day grace period after school
entry for parents or legal guardians “who can demonstrate to schools
their good faith efforts to comply with the meningococcal immunization
requirements.” After that point, students not up-to-date will not be
allowed to attend school until they are vaccinated.
Parents are encouraged to check with their children’s physicians now to
determine when or if they need to be vaccinated.
About meningococcal disease
In October 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a law that requires
immunizations against meningococcal disease for children at ages 11 or
12 and again at 16 years of age or older, as recommended by the national
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection that can lead to
meningitis (inflammation of the lining covering the brain and spinal
cord) and bloodstream infections such as septicemia. Symptoms of the
disease include a high fever, headache, vomiting, a stiff neck and a
rash. The meningococcus bacterium is treatable with antibiotics, but
each year it causes approximately 2,500 infections and 300 deaths in the
United States. Those who contract the disease may experience permanent
brain damage, hearing loss, kidney failure, loss of arms or legs, or
chronic nervous system problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found the highest
rates of meningococcal disease to be among preteens, teens, and young
adults, as well as among infants with certain medical conditions. The
new law targets many in this age group and aligns with the CDC’s
recommendation to vaccinate 11- to 18-year-olds against meningococcal
Learn more about meningococcal disease and the meningococcal disease
vaccine at the links below:
● Meningococcal disease information (Centers for Disease Control and
● Meningococcal disease fact sheet (New York State Department of Health)
● Childhood and Adolescent Immunizations (New York State Department of
● Recommended vaccinations for children aged 11-19 years (New York State
Department of Health)
● State law requiring immunizations against meningococcal disease (New
York State Assembly)