Starting next year Evanston schools will be required to encourage parents to have their kids get two additional vaccinations.
In August, the Illinois legislature amended Public Act 100-0977 to require school boards to provide information about influenza and meningoccocal vaccinations in addition to other school health issues to parents.
Vaccination against meningitis strains A, C, W and Y is already required. The new legislation encourages, but doesn’t require, the additional vaccinations for meningitis B and influenza.
According to EverThrive Illinois, the B strain of meningitis accounts for 50 percent of all meningococcal cases in the U.S. and, in addition, all of the college outbreaks of meningitis have been meningitis B.
Evanston Township High School documents note that students entering 12th grade must have received two doses of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine — the first dose after the 11th birthday and the second dose on or after age 16. Other vaccines cover polio, measles, mumps, rubella and other diseases.
Immunization data on District 65’s website for the 2016-17 school year indicate that individual schools a compliance rate of between 96 and 100 percent.
ETHS documentation indicates that only two students were not in compliance for the 2017-18 school year.
State law permits exemption from immunization requirements for religious reasons.
Both school districts provide assistance with compliance to families that do not have insurance or easy access to health services.