BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As summer vacation winds down, there's a new state law parents need to know about before kids go back to school.
It has to do with a required vaccination. It's the meningococcal vaccine, and children entering 7th and 12th grades are required to get it before starting school. This is for kids in both public and private schools, and 27 states already require the vaccination.
It protects against meningococcal disease which can be fatal. Even non-fatal cases can cause hearing loss and brain damage.
Pediatrician Michael Heimerl from Tonawanda Pediatrics told us why it's important to protect your kids.
"Vaccines save children's lives. This vaccine has been around for a long time. It's incredibly effective. There are no harmful side effects to the vaccine and this disease is very, very bad," says Heimerl. "It's a very virulent, very serious infection that can cause meningitis, an infection around the brain, and other parts of the body."
Dr. Heimerl says teenagers and young adults are the most at risk for the disease. It spreads through close personal contact, and he adds that there have been outbreaks among college sports teams.
Dr. Heimerl says the vaccine will produce antibodies easily through the mid to late 20s in children after they get the vaccine, so you can continue to be protected after you get your first and second dose.
If your child hasn't gotten the vaccine yet, Dr. Heimerl says just call your pediatrician to ask for an appointment just to get the vaccine. Then let your school know that you have that appointment and hopefully they'll understand.