National College Decision Day Is The Right Time To Check School Vaccine Policies And Make Plans To Vaccinate

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Global Healthy Living Foundation encourages parents and students to use online tool to track outbreaks of Meningitis B and to be sure to vaccinate against the deadly disease

On May 1st, National College Decision Day, high school seniors across the country will finalize their college acceptance decisions. For many, this is the first major decision of their soon to be adult lives. But beyond where they will study, students and their parents need to think about other important factors when selecting and preparing to leave for college, including the school’s policies around vaccination requirements.

Global Healthy Living Foundation (http://www.ghlf.org) has long advocated to make college aged students and their parents aware of the dangers of vaccine preventable diseases like Meningitis B—and the need to vaccinate against them.

Outbreaks of Meningitis B have been regularly occurring on college campuses in recent years. Because the B strain of meningitis requires a new, separate vaccination, many parents mistakenly think their kids are protected with the standard shot. Parents and their kids need to know about all strains of meningitis, their college’s policy on requiring vaccinations and making sure their health is protected before heading off to campus this fall.

To help in this effort, Global Healthy Living Foundation has created an on-line resource for students, that tracks, in real time, the number of cases of Meningitis B on campuses around the country.

Because of the way meningitis is spread, through close personal contact, students in dorm settings are particularly vulnerable to the disease and should be vaccinated.

“Leaving for college is such an exciting time for young adults,” said Louis Tharp, Executive Director of Global Healthy Living Foundation. “But parents and students need to be aware of Meningitis B, the available vaccines, and that outbreaks that could be prevented do happen on campuses.”

Neal Raisman, a GHLF ambassador, former college president, and a father who lost his son to meningitis is urging college students and their parents to be aware of the risks of the disease.

“Our son was healthy in the morning, and was gone by 4:30 that day. Meningitis is a vicious killer that strikes fast and without discrimination. As a parent, there is no greater loss than what we have experienced. At the time of my son Issac’s death, there was no vaccine to prevent the “B” strain of the disease. Now there is and there’s no excuse for one more life to be lost,” said Raisman.

The single best way to prevent this disease is to be vaccinated. There are two meningococcal vaccines that protect against the five serogroups: MenACWY and MenB. All adolescents should receive MenACWY at age 11–12. A second dose (booster) is needed at age 16. The MenB series can also be given to teens and young adults starting at age 16. Adolescents may receive MenACWY and MenB vaccines at the same time. In addition to being offered at physician offices and health departments, meningococcal vaccines may also be available at student health centers. The vaccines are covered by most private insurance plans and for children who are Medicaid eligible through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

About the Global Healthy Living Foundation:
The Global Healthy Living Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people living with chronic illnesses, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, migraine, diabetes, psoriasis, cardiovascular disease and chronic pain, by advocating for improved access to care at the community, state, and federal levels, and amplifying education and awareness efforts within its social media framework. GHLF is also a staunch advocate for vaccines. The Global Healthy Living Foundation is the parent organization of CreakyJoints, the go-to source for more than 100,000 arthritis patients and their families world-wide who are seeking education, support, advocacy and patient-centered research and ArthritisPower, the first ever patient-led, patient-centered research registry for arthritis, bone, and inflammatory skin conditions.

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Jessica Daitch
Global Healthy Living
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