WCSD Requires New Vaccine for 7th Graders - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

WCSD Requires New Vaccine for 7th Graders

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Washoe County students now have a new vaccine requirement. The school district just announced that students will need to get the meningitis vaccine before entering seventh grade in the fall.

Both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended the vaccine for kids starting at age 11, but this is the first time the school district has required it. It protects against meningitis, which is an infection around the spinal cord and brain.

Meningitis can lead to serious health consequences, like brain damage, hearing loss, or even death, and young people are most at risk.

"The people most at risk are people in close proximity, so people in the dormitories and people in barracks," Renown Medical Group Pediatrician Dr. Scott Wallace said. "Those people tend to be young adults, so we want to try and give them the best protection before they get to that age group."

Dr. Wallace said meningitis can be caused by a virus or by bacteria, but the vaccine guards against the most common causes. The recommendation is for a first shot at age 11, then a booster at 16.

The new school district requirements go into effect this summer, and Dr. Wallace said there's no reason for parents to be concerned about the vaccine having negative health effects.

"It is a vaccine that has been around for a very long time," Dr. Wallace said. "It's been studied. It's very well tolerated and there aren't many side effects. You could potentially get a fever in a day or two, but that goes away on its own."

To schedule the vaccine, Dr. Wallace said to speak with your family doctor.

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