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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments
MCV4 Vaccine

Date:                _____
Contact:            _____
Phone:              _____

The ____ County Health Department reminds parents of teens of the importance of being up-to-date in their child’s vaccination against bacterial meningitis.

“Although cases of bacterial meningitis, also known as meningococcal disease, are rare, they are very dangerous and can result in brain damage, hearing loss and learning problems,” said (name), (title) of the _____ County Health Department . “This type of bacterial infection may also lead to the loss of an arm, leg or other parts of the body.”

Meningococcal disease can become very serious, very quickly. Even if treated, about one in ten persons with meningococcal disease will die from it. The bacteria that cause meningococcal disease can spread when individuals have close or lengthy contact with someone’s saliva, like kissing or coughing, or by being in direct contact with the respiratory fluids of someone who is infected, including sharing a water bottle, food item, cigarettes, lipstick, lip balm, mouth guard, or anything an infected person touches with his or her nose or mouth.

Teens and young adults are at higher risk for meningococcal disease. The MCV4 meningococcal vaccine is the best way to protect teens from getting bacterial meningitis as the shot offers protection against bacteria that cause four types of meningococcal disease. Preteens should get the first MCV4 shot when they are 11 or 12 years old, before they become teens and their risk is higher. Parents might consider scheduling this vaccination when they schedule their child’s Tdap booster, which is due before the seventh grade. Older teens need an MCV4 booster shot when they are 16 years old, so they stay protected when their risk is at the highest.

Teens who received the MCV4 vaccine for the first time when they were 13, 14 or 15 years old should still get the booster shot when they are 16 years old. If your older teen hasn’t received an MCV4 shot at all, talk with your health care provider about getting it as soon as possible, especially if your teen will move into a college dorm this fall or is planning to join the military. In Oklahoma, the meningococcal vaccine is required for students who are enrolling for the first time in colleges and post-high school educational programs and who will live in dormitories or on-campus student housing.

If your child has health insurance, you can obtain the meningococcal vaccine from your regular health care provider. All county health departments in Oklahoma have the vaccine available at no charge for children 11 through 18 years of age who have no health insurance, are Medicaid eligible, are Native American, or have health insurance that does not pay for vaccines or does not pay for meningococcal vaccine. The vaccine is also available at no charge at county health departments for children ages 2 through 18 years of age who are at high risk from meningococcal disease.

For more information about protecting your teen against meningococcal disease, or if you have questions about other vaccines your child may need, call the ____ County Health Department at (phone number).

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