SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Chatham County Health Department is holding meningitis vaccination clinics for teens this month and next to help local students get up to date on required school vaccines. 

This fall, all Georgia students going into 11th grade and are at least 16 years of age must receive a booster shot to protect against meningitis.

“This new booster shot requirement became effective last summer,” said Chatham County Health Department Nurse Manager Dr. Sierra Peebles, “but this school year will be the first time the requirement is strictly enforced. We want to make this easy and convenient for families, so we’ve scheduled several special clinics for teens who need this booster.” 

Vaccination clinics for teens will be held at the Eisenhower Clinic at 1395 Eisenhower Drive on the following dates and times: July 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Aug. 4, 11, 18, and 25 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Appointments are required and can be scheduled online here or by calling the Chatham County Health Department at 912-356-2441. 

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the meningococcal booster shot helps prevent meningococcal disease, a bacterial infection that is very serious and can be deadly in a matter of hours.

Meningitis is a swelling of the brain and spinal cord and can result in brain damage, hearing loss, or worse. Disease levels increase in adolescence starting around age 11, and peak around age 19 years. Georgia students already receive a meningococcal vaccination before entering 7th grade, and this new booster will
provide added protection during these peak years of risk, according to the DPH.

People spread meningococcal bacteria to other people by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close contact like kissing, coughing or lengthy contact to spread these bacteria.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 to 15 in 100 people with meningococcal disease will die. Up to 1 in 5 survivors will have long-term disabilities, such as loss of limb(s), deafness, nervous system problems or brain damage.