Students Need to Get Vaccinated Before First Day of School

DES MOINES, Iowa – More than half of Polk County students have received a meningitis shot for the new school year.

In 2017, the state of Iowa began requiring all 7th and 12th grade students to receive a meningitis shot before the first day of school.

Polk County Health Department Public Information Officer Nola Aigner said it sees about 100 students each day receive a vaccine.

“We know that teens and pre-teens are at the highest rate in the United States of getting meningitis. This is because it is spread through respiratory throat secretion. Think about our kids, they are sharing water bottles. They are in close quarters in school, they are in practices together, they are in sports together and when they are in that close quarters they are easily able to spread it,” Aigner said.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, pre-teens and teens are the most vulnerable at getting meningitis in the United States.

“Meningitis we know is rare, but it can be deadly. We see that even if children get the proper medical care 10 percent of them will die. We even see 20 percent will have long-term health effects. That could be that they lose a limb or they have ear problems, or they have permanent brain damage,” Aigner said.

In 2016, there were three confirmed cases reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Many students begin their first day August 23rd.