The Maine CDC announced that students will now be required to have the meningococcal meningitis vaccine.

This change will bring the state further into alignment with current national recommendations. Meningococcal disease is a rare but very dangerous disease that strikes healthy young people without warning. The CDC says it can affect children of all ages, but teens and young adults are at the highest risk of contracting it. The disease can cause meningitis and sepsis, which can be treated with antibiotics. However, officials say that even with the treatment, 15% of patients will die, while another 20% will suffer lifelong disabilities such as hearing loss, loss of arms or legs, or brain damage.

So, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, all students attending a public or private school in the state of Maine will need to comply with the following requirements:

  • One dose of meningococcal vaccine MCV4 for all students entering 7th grade
  • Two doses of meningococcal vaccine MCV4 for students entering 12th grade, with a minimum interval of 8 weeks between dose one and dose two.
  • If the first dose is given on or after the teen's 16th birthday, a second dose is not required.

The Federal CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend that children receive vaccines to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (TDAP), human papillomavirus (HPV), and an annual flu shot.

Find more information on the Maine CDC's website.