North Carolina's public health rulemaking body is closing in on requiring seventh graders to be vaccinated against potentially deadly meningitis and related diseases starting next summer.
The North Carolina Commission on Public Health recently approved requiring vaccinations against meningitis and other meningococcal diseases by seventh grade. A booster for 12th graders would kick in starting with 2020.
The state Department of Health and Human Services says the requirement is scheduled to be finalized next month before it can take effect for students entering the seventh grade after July 2015.
Though North Carolina only averages 16 cases a year, meningococcal disease can result in death and exorbitant medical costs. Half of North Carolina teens are not vaccinated against the infections of the brain, spinal cord and sometimes the bloodstream.