Can a state require my child to get a meningitis vaccine?
Bacterial meningitis is a highly-contagious, life-threatening condition easily spread between individuals living in close quarters (like dormitories). Historically, public universities and colleges mandated this under-studied vaccine for any new enrollee, and would decline admission to any student refusing to submit to the three-part series of inoculations.
Today, however, the Centers for Disease Control and many pediatricians are recommending meningitis vaccines to children as young as 12 years old – prompting states like New York to mandate the vaccination prior to entering the 7th grade. In a new piece of legislation decided by the New York General Assembly, 7th graders are now required to submit to the shots in order to begin middle school – and many parents believe the mandate does not take the potential dangers of the vaccination into consideration.
Bill met with opposition
There is no doubt that meningitis is a deadly, horrific disease to endure. However, the safety and efficacy of many of the vaccines used to combat it and similar diseases has been called into question repeatedly – particularly by parents who attest that the side effects of the vaccine were nearly as difficult as the actual disease itself.
According to reports, the meningitis vaccine can cause an extreme spike in fever, fainting, and difficulty breathing. Moreover, severe allergic reactions to the vaccine have been reported causing throat swelling and other life-threatening symptoms. In light of these risks, the number of people who contract bacterial meningitis each year in the United States is around 1,000 – and approximately 10 percent of victims are killed by the infection.
Making the right choice for your family
Vaccines including meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) may be the right choice for a particular child depending on his or her risk factors and medical history. However, mandating that all children of a certain age must receive a potentially harmful vaccination before continuing with their public education is an issue many have considered to be an unsafe overreach of government regulation.
For information about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or to speak to a vaccine injury attorney, call us today at 202-800-1711.