Kansas Health Department aims to require meningitis vaccine

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Kansas kids could soon be required to have another shot in middle school.

In order to go to public school, Kansas students have to have certain shots to prevent diseases like whooping cough, measles, and chicken pox. But, right now the state doesn’t require one for meningitis, and the Kansas Department of Health is trying to change that. 

Phil Griffin is Director of the Department’s Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention. 

“We’ve continued to see a growing rate of meningitis across the country, particularly in students that are going into college or the military,” Griffin said, “Meningitis can be a very quick and deadly disease that we can prevent through the vaccine.” 

Some parents said they’re not okay with that. Matthew Norberto has two kids, and says while they are vaccinated, that was his choice to make. 

“I don’t think it’s anybody’s right to tell you what you can and can’t do with your kids. That should be up to the individual parents I think,” Norberto said.  

The Department of Health says meningitis isn’t just any common cold. It’s a dangerous disease with a 40% mortality rate and serious permanent damage to survivors. 

“A person can be infected with meningitis and be very healthy one day, a very strong athlete one day, and within 24 hours they could be dead,” Griffin said. 

The Department of Health said Kansas currently has one of the lowest rates of meningitis vaccinations of any state in the country. 

Right now a legislative committee is considering the meningitis vaccine requirement. The Department of Health said they hope to start requiring students in seventh grade and higher to have the shot by next school year. 
 

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