Idaho legislative committee OKs 12th-grade immunization rule

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BOISE, Idaho (AP/KMVT/KSVT) - UPDATE: The Health and Welfare Committee for the Idaho Legislature House is recommending approval for another vaccine to the list of school required vaccinations.

The committee recommends adding a second dose of the meningococcal vaccine for students.

According to the South Central Public Health District, kids should be getting one dose of the shot when they enter the seventh grade.

"It’s important to complete a series of vaccines and a second dose would complete that series," said Tanis Maxwell, an epidemiology manager.

Meningitis can be spread through saliva, such as sharing cups, utensils or kissing.

"It's important to prevent the disease prior to an exposure, so following the recommendations from the CDC and following the schedule will keep you protected," she said.

Having the infection can cause hearing loss and a blood infection and possibly even result in the loss of limbs.

If approved, the requirement would go into effect for 12th-grade students at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

The Idaho Legislature's House Health and Welfare committee is recommending approval of a rule that adds a second meningococcal vaccine dose to the list of school-required vaccinations.

Parents and legal guardians in Idaho still have the option of exempting their children from the required immunizations. Deputy State Epidemiologist Kathy Turner says the new Department of Health and Welfare rule will help remind families to make sure their children are fully immunized against the rare but often catastrophic disease.

Students who receive the meningococcal vaccine before the age of 16 have to receive two doses of the vaccine to be fully immunized. Students who get their first dose of the vaccine after turning 16, however, need only one dose.

The requirement goes into effect for twelfth-grade students at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. .

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