Ohio: Governor John Kasich signs meningitis vaccine bill into law - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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Ohio schoolchildren will have to be vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis after Governor John Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 121 Thursday. The bill and now law was introduced by State Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay).

Image/Office of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich

Image/Office of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich

Sponsored by Senator Hite, Senate Bill 121 works in conjunction with the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Immunization Advocacy Network of Ohio to require students of ages recommended by the Ohio Department of Health to be immunized against meningococcal disease. The new requirements will be effective for the 2016-17 school year.

The law recommends vaccinating children against meningitis at ages 11-12, with a booster at age 16. This vaccination schedule prepares students for the high-risk environments of high school and college.

The law protects a parent’s right to opt their children out of the immunizations for matters of conscience, including religious beliefs.

“This law protects Ohio’s children and families from preventable deaths,” said Hite. “No parent or family member should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to this terrible disease. This law has the potential to save lives.”

Last year the Ohio Senate honored the memory of Senator Hite’s niece, Tess, by marking March 9th as “Meningitis Awareness Day.” Tess passed away within hours of contracting meningitis.

Related articles:

Michigan child dies from complications of Haemophilus influenza type b Meningitis.

Meningitis awareness groups advocate for meningitis B vaccines for all adolescents

Oregon Governor Brown encourages meningitis B vaccination in new PSA

2 Comments

  1. Thank You Governor Kasich for maintaining exceptions in our Great State of Ohio

  2. Dee says:

    The meningococcal vaccine is already recommended for young teens, 11-12 years old, and again at 16 years of age or as college freshmen. Now they want to add anywhere from three to four more doses at two months, four months, six months and 12 months of age.

    “Here is the situation with this vaccine,” Fisher says. “Neisseria meningococcal is only associated with about 1,400 to 3,000 cases [of meningitis] per year in the United States, out of 308 million Americans. There are five strains (serotypes): A, B, C, Y, and W135. A third to half of the cases of Neisseria meningococcal disease is caused by strain B. And that strain is NOT in the vaccine.”

    In children under the age of five, strain B is responsible for 66 to 70 percent of the cases of meningitis. Infants under the age of one are now the new target age group being considered for this vaccine recommendation—despite the fact that:

    The bacterial strain responsible for the vast majority of the cases is NOT included in the vaccine, and
    In the last nine years, there has been an average of 16 fatalities per year from the Neisseria meningococcal infection in children under the age of 12 months.
    The proposed policy is now to vaccinate EVERY child at two, four, six and 12 months, and then again at 11 to 12 years of age, and at 16 years of age. That’s six doses of a meningococcal vaccine that does not cover 30 to 70 percent of the cases that actually occur, depending on the age group!

    “You really have to take a look at the cost-benefit analysis,” Fisher says.

    You also have to look at the insertion of another vaccine into a schedule that already contains eight vaccines to be given at two, four, and six months of age. Where is the evidence showing that it is safe for an infant to receive all these vaccines in combination within the first six months of life? Where are the studies showing it will be safe to add a ninth vaccine?

    There aren’t any!

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