August 11, 2016
New Immunizations Required for 2016-17 School Year
Officials remind residents to check schedules to be sure they are up to date on their immunizations
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Commissioner of Health Services Dr. James Tomarken wish to inform parents that all children entering 7th and 12th grade in New York State this fall must have the meningococcal vaccine by September 1, 2016. Without it, they can’t start school.
While the meningococcal vaccine is not a new immunization—the vaccine has been has been recommended for a decade and many parents have already chosen to immunize their children-- this year is the first year it vaccine will be required for school entry.
“Immunizations are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease,” said Executive Bellone. “They not only protect vaccinated individuals but also help protect entire communities, which is why we want everyone who is not up to date on their immunizations to obtain them as soon as possible, especially the children who need the meningococcal vaccine.”
Teens and young adults are at greater risk for meningococcal disease, which causes bacterial meningitis and other serious diseases. It comes on quickly and without warning with symptoms that are similar to the flu. Every case of this disease can result in death or long-term disability.
“Over the years, vaccines have eradicated smallpox, eliminated poliovirus in the United States and significantly reduced the number of reported cases of measles diphtheria, and rubella,” said Dr. Tomarken. “But not everyone is up to date on their immunizations, for example, HPV vaccine, which can reduce risk for cancer. Immunization schedules change periodically, so we ask that everyone—adults, pregnant women, and parents of older children-- to speak with their healthcare providers to find out what immunizations are recommended for them.