Immunization against meningitis recommended

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Association of School Nurses says more than half of Tennessee teens aren't vaccinated against meningitis.

With the new school year beginning, the group urges parents to get the shots for their children and teens. The first is administered at age 11-12 and a booster should be given around age 16-18.

Meningococcal meningitis can be spread through such contact as sharing drink bottles. Ten percent of people who contract the disease die -- sometimes within 24 hours.

Dr. Kelly Moore, who directs the Tennessee Department of Health immunization program, said the shots are not required in Tennessee, but are recommended. There is no charge for the vaccine at public health clinics for children on TennCare, those who are uninsured if parents' insurance doesn't cover the shots.

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