When I was about 10 years old, I got a call from my dad who had just dropped me off at a friend’s house, that he could not get my brother to wake up and he was taking him to the emergency room. It turned out that my brother had meningitis, an illness that very nearly killed him.
Bacterial meningitis poisons the blood and infects the brain and spine of an individual. It is rare, with only approximately 4000 cases in the United States each year, but of those, 500 died, while others lost limbs or suffered brain damage. It appears in outbreaks that receive national news coverage, but also strikes in lesser known individual events, such as the one that nearly killed my brother.
At present, there are two vaccinations to protect against the types of meningitis. Adolescents should receive one at roughly 11 years old, followed by a booster at 16. The other can be given to individuals ages 10 through 25, and health experts recommend that teenagers receive both in order to receive maximum protection.
There are people who fear any possible side effects of vaccines. While it is understandable to fear harm to a child, death is a far worse harm than what people may worry that a vaccine will cause. Vaccination saves lives, I only hope that all the parents that may read this understand these facts and act to protect their children from the real threat, not the medicine to keep it away.