MARION, Ill. (AP) — Starting this school year, students entering grades six and 12 in Illinois will need to have had a vaccine to prevent meningitis.

The meningococcal vaccine protects against several types of the severe bacterial infection. The disease can be deadly and is particularly common among those between 16 and 21 years old.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports ( ) that health officials are emphasizing the importance of vaccines after the reappearance of childhood illnesses like measles that had almost been eliminated.

Eleven-year-old Chase Austin of Marion in southern Illinois was among those rolling up his sleeves recently to get the meningitis vaccine.

He’ll be starting sixth grade next month at Marion Junior High School.

After two nurses gave him simultaneous jabs each arm, the boy quipped, “Is that it?”


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