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Vaccination requirements change for New York's young adults

Gordon Lew

This is the time of year health officials recommend families make sure children’s vaccinations are up to date so they can go to school in September. This year, there is one new requirement change in New York state.

The new vaccination rules affect older children, according to Upstate Medical University infectious disease specialist Dr. Joe Domachowske. The required shot is first given before seventh grade, then followed up with a booster, and will protect children from the sometimes deadly form of bacterial meningitis.

"So, in seventh grade they have to have had their first dose. By 12th grade they have to have a second dose, unless they got their first dose after they turn 16,” said Domachowske.

Meningitis is a bacterial infection that leads to the swelling of the brain and spinal cord, and it can be deadly. It’s most common among infants, but as children become teenagers or young adults, they become more susceptible to the disease.

“Sometime around the age of 14 or 15 we start seeing it climb back up again, with a hasty peak around the time kids are thinking about going off to college,” says Domachowske.

Many times, meningitis is spread in a dormitory type setting, which is why health officials say it’s so important for teens to get the shots. State law requires that students have proof of required vaccines or be taken out of school until they get them.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.