Gwinnett school district outlines procedures for meningitis shot

Students who are 16 by the start of the 11th grade must provide proof they've received the meningitis booster shot. (File photo)
Students who are 16 by the start of the 11th grade must provide proof they've received the meningitis booster shot. (File photo)

Incoming high school juniors in Gwinnett County Public Schools students who turn 16 before the start of next school year can get meningitis booster shots from the local health department, and some may be eligible for shots through the federal Vaccines for Children program.

Under a new state rule, effective July 1, all students entering the 11th grade require proof of a booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) unless they received their first dose on or after their 16th birthday.

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Incoming juniors who are not yet 16 should wait until their 16th birthday to get the booster dose, the Gwinnett school district said in a news release. The booster is in addition to the one required for students entering seventh grade.

Georgia law requires the vaccine for students unless they have a documented exemption.

The vaccine protects against meningitis, an inflammation of the fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord that can be fatal.

Students can get the vaccines and certificates of immunization from their doctors or at the offices of the health department in Buford, Lawrenceville and Norcross.

Students who meet eligibility requirements can be vaccinated through Vaccines for Children, which charges only an administration fee. Families who are unable to pay the fee can request financial assistance.

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