(07/20/2012)
West Virginia's seventh and 12th-graders won't be allowed back in school this fall unless they receive newly required meningitis vaccines.

The National Immunization Survey last August said that only 46 percent of West Virginia's 13 to 17-year-olds had received a meningococcal vaccine in 2010.

If the 2011 survey is accurate, lots of students will not be allowed back in school this August.

Nationally, 63 percent of 13 to 17-year-olds have received the vaccine.

Under a state law passed earlier this year, students entering the seventh and 12th grades this fall are required to have received meningococcal vaccines.

If the incoming 12-graders have had their initial vaccine, they also must have received booster shots after their 16th birthdays.

Schools are requiring shot records be up to date.

Meningitis can lead to death and other serious health problems.

Symptoms of meningitis include headaches, stiff neck, confusion, vomiting, extreme exhaustion and rashes. The symptoms often are mistaken for something other than meningitis, delaying crucial treatment, health officials said.

A West Virginia grass-roots group "We The Parents" are opposing mandated vaccines, pitting them between their religious beliefs and sending their kids to school.

"We the Parents" say it comes down to one thing, a choice.


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