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Senate panel mandates meningitis vaccine for 7th graders

Wading into the sometimes controversial topic of child immunizations, the Senate’s Budget Committee inserted language into the state budget that requires students entering seventh grade be vaccinated against meningitis.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who introduced the budget amendment, said a recent meningitis diagnois of a student at Florida State University highlighted the need to protect young people against the highly contagious and potentially deadly disease. The state already mandates other vaccinations before students enter seventh grade, but there is an opt-out clause if parents object for religious or personal reasons.

The board in charge of Florida's public universities already requires incoming college students to obtain the meningococcal vaccine, following the lead of the University of South Florida, which established the policy after a student died of bacterial meningitis in 2007.

People ages 16 through 21 years have the highest rates of meningococcal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It suggests vaccinations for children between the ages of 11 and 12, and a booster shot at age 16.

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Ft. Lauderdale, was the only member of the committee to vote against the vaccination amendment. She said the budget was not the place for such a proposal, which should have been vetted through the normal committee process.

“I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad policy, but I believe it is a policy decision that should not necessarily appear in the budget,” Bogdanoff said.

Although the vaccination language is now in the Senate’s version of the budget, the House has already passed its budget without discussing the issue.


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This would be wonderful legislation to protect the children of Florida, as many other states are now doing for their children. Meningitis is a horrible, killer disease, and has taken the lives of too many of our children, including mine. This safe vaccine can potentially save your child's life. Visit the National Meningitis Association Web site for more information.

Proud of Broward Senator

Bravo Senator Bogdanoff!! This is only a 'budget decision' for the pharmaceuticals who are obscenely profiting from these unnecessary and potentially harmful vaccines! Kids get enough vaccines as it is. They can only tolerate so many toxins in their bodies, and we've only seen an increase in the number of afflictions and the number of prescriptions kids require (often for the rest of their lives), which correlates directly with the increase in the number of vaccine mandates. Enough already!! It's all about profits to the pharmaceuticals, not the state budget! This is no way to pass health policy! For shame!

F. Milley

Kudos to the Florida Senate for wanting to save lives.
Meningitis does not stop at the dorm room door.

I am the mother of an only child, Ryan, who died from of meningococcal meningitis & founder/executive director of Meningitis Angels. www.meningitis-angels.org .

Each year in this country infants, children, teens and young adults are left seriously debilitated from meningococcal disease. Some with the loss of limbs and their faces. Some are left with severe organ damage, seizure disorder, brain damage, digestive disorders, anemia, blindness, deafness, and more. Worse, some die.

According to ACIP/CDC children ages (11) years, teens age 16, ALL upon college entry and all who have compromised immune systems should be vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis.

The current vaccines are approved for ages down to age 2 and nine months. There are new vaccines on the horizon to protect infants as young as 2 months from this deadly disease.

See our national PSA on Infant Meningococcal Disease at http://www.youtube.com/user/MeningitisAngelsPIN?feature=mhee

Some early signs of the disease are unrelenting fever, leg pain, cold hands & feet & abnormal skin color. These can develop within (12 hours) after infection long before the more classic signs of the illness such as a rash, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light and impaired consciousness and death.

Pneumococcal and Hib meningitis killed or debilitated thousand and thousands of infants and toddlers before vaccinations. ACIP/CDC Recommends all infants receive vaccine to prevent these deadly forms of meningitis. Talk to your health care provider.

Visit the AAP, Sound Advice on Vaccines: http://www.cispimmunize.org/fam/soundadvice.html

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