Meningococcal vaccination rates for adolescents have improved, but rates are still below public health goals in many states. This means that too many preteens and teens remain unprotected against meningococcal disease, which can cause meningitis and kill an otherwise healthy child in just a single day.
Additionally, many parents may be unaware of the current public health vaccination recommendations calling for teens to receive a booster dose of vaccine before 18 years of age to help protect them during the years they are at greatest risk of infection, following their initial dose at 11 or 12 years of age.
As part of its new Voices of Meningitis “Boost Our Rates!” initiative, NASN has issued the following proclamation to call attention to the need to raise awareness of meningitis prevention and to “boost” vaccination rates across the country.
Meningococcal disease, which includes meningococcal meningitis, is a rare but serious bacterial infection that can kill an otherwise healthy child in just a single day. Vaccination is the most effective way to help protect against meningococcal meningitis, yet immunization rates still remain below public health goals. Lack of awareness about the dangers of meningococcal disease and the importance of vaccination may contribute to the low immunization rates. Parents also may be unaware that their adolescent children may need a second vaccination, according to current health recommendations.
The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) is launching the “Boost Our Rates!” initiative to call attention to low meningococcal immunization rates, and to challenge communities to “boost” rates in an effort to help protect preteens and teens against meningococcal meningitis. “Boost Our Rates!” is part of the Voices of Meningitis campaign, a program of the NASN in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur.
The goal of “Boost Our Rates!” is to further educate communities about the importance of meningococcal vaccination and ensure parents are aware that teens who have already been vaccinated may need a second dose to help keep them protected during the years when they are at greatest risk of infection. Public health officials now recommend a booster dose of meningococcal vaccination for adolescents by 18 years of age, following the initial dose at age 11 or 12 years.
Everyone has a role to play in increasing meningococcal immunization rates among preteens and teens. By working collaboratively across all sectors, communities can make changes to help protect preteens and teens. Join the fight against meningitis and help “boost” vaccination rates in your community by spreading the message and supporting the goals of the “Boost Our Rates!” initiative.
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