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Students at U.S. military schools in Europe have a few weeks to get vaccinated against meningitis — and military clinics now have enough of the vaccine to get the job done, officials said Monday.

This summer, a shortage of the meningococcal MCV4 (Menactra) vaccine bought students a grace period, letting them enroll in school in spite of not receiving the inoculation.

But military clinics and hospitals in Europe now say they have sufficient supplies to vaccinate children ages 11 through 18.

U.S. Air Forces Europe clinics, in fact, are slightly more than halfway toward the goal of inoculating 100 percent of required students by next year, spokesman Capt. Chris Watt said.

With the release of the information from military medical personnel, Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe nurses will begin reviewing students’ shot records, said Dennis Bohannon, a DODDS-Europe spokesman. If the students haven’t received the shot, parents will be notified, he said.

Students should be vaccinated within the next few weeks. Those who aren’t will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Earlier this year, DODDS-Europe added the MCV4 vaccine to the list of required inoculations, along with tetanus and diphtheria toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine (TDAP-adolescent preparation) and the Hepatitis A vaccine. The DODDS-Europe requirement is based on a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The MCV4 vaccine helps protect children against bacteria that cause different types of meningococcal diseases, commonly called meningitis.

With varying policies from clinic to clinic, parents are encouraged to call their local clinics to arrange for their children’s shots, officials said.


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