News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Michigan School Immunization Rules (and many colleges) require meningitis shots for kids age 11 to 18
Beat the rush—appointments available now at Health Department offices

(June 23, 2011) Though summer just started, local public health officials are encouraging parents to think ahead to get children the immunizations they need for school year, especially adolescents age 11- to 18. Appointments are available now at Health Department offices in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties by calling 800-432-4121. Medicaid and private insurance accepted; no one is turned away for inability to pay.

"Immunizations are not just for young children anymore. Thinking about shots for pre-teens and teenagers is new for many parents,” said Pat Fralick Director of Family & Community Health for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “Getting kids protected against diseases, including meningitis, is very important.”

“Even though meningitis in not very common, it can be very serious. Unfortunately, we see about one death a year from the disease, in high school or on a college campus.“

Meningitis immunization is required statewide for 11- and 12-years to go to school. Now, a booster dose should be given at age 16. Adolescents, who received their first dose at age 13-15, should get a one-time booster, preferable at 16-18. That way, they will be protected from disease when they are at greatest risk of contracting meningitis.

“Keeping track of your children's immunizations can be difficult,” Fralick said. “Just call the Health Department or your health care provider--we can check their immunization record on Michigan's statewide registry and let you know if they need a meningitis immunization, or any other required immunizations.

For parents of students heading to college in the fall, Fralick recommends making appointments for meningitis immunization soon. “Since rules for adolescent meningitis immunization just went into effect last year, most high school seniors have not been immunized” she said. “So families need to plan ahead to protect their teens heading to a college dormitory, or to the military, or any other communal living situation”

The Health Department is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about meningitis vaccine, call the Health Department at 800-432-4121, visit, or call your health care provider.