Incoming 7th and 12th grade students without a meningitis vaccine or a state waiver won’t be able to start school in the fall. It’s a new state requirement.

As of the end of the school year, DMPS students were ahead of the rest of public schools in Polk County, but even so, 1,500 of our students were not compliant and will not be allowed to start classes if they don’t get the vaccine or a waiver by the first day of school, August 23.

A county wide campaign called, “No Shot, No School” is underway to encourage incoming 7th and 12th graders to act now. The worry is that too many families will wait until August, when it may be too late to get an appointment in time.

The change requires:

  • Students entering 7th grade (if born after September 15, 2004) – 1 dose of meningococcal vaccine received on or after age of 10 – a booster dose will be needed at age 16.
  • Students entering 12th grade (if born after September 15, 1999) – 1 dose of meningococcal vaccine at 16 years of age or older.

NOTE: Contrary to recent news reports the meningococcal vaccine is NOT found in the Tdap vaccine. It is a separate vaccine that will be needed before students will be allowed to attend class in the fall.

Meningococcal disease is very serious. Approximately 10-15% of people with meningococcal disease die even with appropriate treatment. Of those who recover, up to 20% suffer from serious after-effects, such as permanent hearing loss, limb loss, or brain damage. Meningococcal vaccines are very safe and are 85-100% effective at preventing infection.

The meningococcal vaccine requirement will help keep students, friends, families and communities safe. If you have a student that will be entering 7th or 12th grade in the 2017-18 school year, please check with your primary healthcare provider about meningococcal vaccination.

If you do not have health insurance, you can schedule an appointment with the Polk County Health Department (515-286-3798). To read more about the requirement in English and eight other languages, click here.

Thanks to Primary Health Care, Des Moines Public Schools students who need help getting the meningitis vaccination can call 242-8488 and make an appointment at the Nolden Gentry Dental Clinic at Central Campus. All forms of insurance are accepted, including Title 19. No DMPS student will be turned away.

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