MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The last thing a parent wants to think about is meningitis, but health officials say too many parents are not thinking about it, and vaccination rates are too low. A push is being made by the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota to raise the rates of vaccination for meningitis.

Jim Dunn, of Inver Grove Heights, lost his 26-year old daughter Jenna to meningitis back in 1999, when she was a student at the University of St. Thomas. He said getting the vaccine is easy, and the right thing to do.

“If there’s a message I could get out to other parents, that’s it,” Dunn said. “Nothing’s failsafe, but if you can avoid this, by all means [get the vaccine].”

Dunn is part of a campaign called Voices of Meningitis, which is an effort to get more teens and young adults vaccinated against the bacterial infection that can quickly turn deadly.

“You just bank on the assumption it’s not going to happen to me, or to us,” Dunn said. “But it can. And if it does, the consequences can be severe.”

The School Nurse Organization of Minnesota says 40 percent of teenagers in the state are not vaccinated against meningitis. You can learn more about the campaign at www.VoicesOfMeningitis.org.


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