Immunization Alert

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

The Ohio Department of Health is requiring a new vaccine for the 2016-17 school year for students entering seventh and 12th grades.

Be sure to check with your doctor to see if your child has had the required immunizations.

The new recommendations are:

• Seventh grade – One dose of the MCV4 (meningococcal) vaccine by the start of the school year, in addition to the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) booster already required of seventh-graders.

• Twelfth grade – Two doses of the MCV4 vaccine by the start of school. The vaccine requires at least eight weeks between the first and second doses. If the first dose was administered on or after a child's 16th birthday, a second dose is not required.

The vaccine has been recommended for more than a decade, but is now mandatory for Ohio schoolchildren. Meningococcal disease, which has symptoms similar to the flu, can cause blindness, loss of limbs and death. For more information, read this ODH flier.

The Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently launched a mobile app called Fast VAX Facts for parents who have questions about immunizations. It includes customized vaccine schedules, answers to frequently asked questions, notifications about outbreaks and immunization-related news. It's free in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

- Melissa Kossler Dutton