New shot requirement for Missouri school kids

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — July is here which means many kids will soon have back-to-school check-ups. In Missouri, there’s a new shot requirement for the upcoming school year.

Paige Watson’s check-up at a Children’s Mercy clinic won’t involve any shots. At age 12, Paige has already had the meningococcal vaccine that protects against some strains of bacterial meningitis.

“Now that it’s a school requirement, I don’t have to worry about coming down here to get it done,” her mother, Doris Watson, said.

Other parents will need to make sure their kids have had the shot or see that they get it before the start of the school year. In Missouri, it’s required for the first time for those entering 8th grade.

And if you’re going into your senior year of high school, you’ll need to have had a booster dose of the meningococcal vaccine. That’s unless the first dose was given at age 16 or older.

“To cover you through the rest of high school and through college at that point,” Dr. Brian Burghardt of Children’s Mercy’s Teen Clinic said.

He said the vaccine has already been a requirement for college. It’s been effective in reducing the number of cases of bacterial meningitis. The disease can kill within 24 hours.

“It can start with just fever and headache which are really common symptoms and end up with serious illness and death rapidly,” he said.

Kansas still does not require the vaccine for school kids. The state health department does recommend it.

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