New vaccine required for MO students before first day of school - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New vaccine required for MO students before first day of school

(Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS) (Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
(Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS) (Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
(KFVS) -

Before students can walk through the doors on the first day of school this year, many are going to need more than just new school supplies.

In Missouri, there is now a new shot requirement. This shot just recently became mandatory for all college students.

Now, it's required for students before entering the 8th grade.

"If you don't have them, you're not going to school," Immunization Coordinator Sandy Gibbons said.

Missouri now requires all 8th graders and seniors to get a meningitis vaccine.

"This one is going to be the meningitis one, just relax, good job, awesome," Gibbons said.

Gibbons said she will be busy getting everyone updated on their shots before students' first day of school. 

"They'll get the meningitis one when they go into the 8th grade, and then they will have to have a booster one when they go into the 12th grade," she said. "So that is all new recommendations, well mandatory, for the state and the CDC put out."

Melissa Lanigan's son Colin is starting 8th grade this year. This shot gives her peace of mind.

"They are sharing drinks and hanging out with friends and what not, and then when they're in sports and stuff, you know you don't want them getting sick from other kids," Lanigan said. "So I worry about that a lot, especially when they're younger and stuff too."

However, Lanigan also said she wasn't expecting this.

"They get a shot at 16, so I was like oh they're doing more shots now, so, uhm, cause I have three older sons, so I knew what to expect, but since they added these."

She understands and supports the change.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting young children and adults between the ages of 16 through 23 years old have the highest rates of meningitis.

Sandy Gibbons said meningitis is like the flu, but symptoms turn quickly. This shot will help protect children from the deadly disease.

"Most parents are more than happy to protect their kids the most they can and that's one way to get those immunizations," Gibbons said. "Any immunizations they say 'oh I'm going to be the bad parent' no you're not, you're going to be the loving parent because you're going to protect your child."

If this goes against your religious beliefs, you can file a religious exemption to not immunize your child.

Exemptions include:

  • Religious Exemption
  • Medical Exemption
  • Children In Progress

The state of Missouri now requires the vaccine to help prevent deaths and life-long consequences for individuals contracting the disease, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services,

Between 2005 to 2015, Missouri had 162 cases of meningococcal disease, 23 of them resulting in death.

Missouri’s school immunization requirements are compatible with the current recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. 

Last year, Illinois required 6th graders and seniors to get the vaccine. Also, for the past five years, Kentucky has required 6th graders to get the shot, according to the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

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