Public Health Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-463

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING INFORMATIONAL MATERIALS ON MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS AND SHINGLES.

Vote Date:

3/7/2008

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute Change of Reference to Appropriations

PH Date:

3/3/2008

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Public Health Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To require (1) local and regional boards of education, in collaboration with the Department of Public Health, to develop informational materials on meningitis that shall be provided to secondary school students at the beginning of each school year and (2) require the Department of Public Health to establish a public information campaign on shingles.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Richard Edmonds, Chief, Public Health Initiatives Branch, Department of Public Health (DPH)

Meningococcal vaccine is already being offered to all children by their pediatricians as a part of the required 7th and 10th grade health assessment and as a vaccine recommended for all secondary school students to protect against a disease that can be transmitted in the school setting. DPH is planning to require it for 7th grade entry starting in August 09'.

The shingles vaccine is recommended for all persons 60 years and older. It can reduce occurrence of shingles by 50% in five years and 67% thereafter. The biggest problem for people wanting this vaccine is the availability because the vaccine requires a deep-freezer that many providers do not carry and it cost, approximately $200 per dose.

Mandating that the cost be fully covered by insurance and providing an incentive for adult care providers to invest in the deep-freezer will increase access and availability.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Lynn Bozof, Executive Director, National Meningitis Association (NMA)

NMA strongly believes that such education will save the lives of many adolescents in Connecticut, whose parents may be unaware of the dangers of the disease. Our mission is to educate parents, medical professionals and others about meningococcal disease and prevention of it.

Meningococcal meningitis is a potentially fatal bacterial infection which can lead to death or permanent disability within house of first symptoms. Teens and young adults are at increased risk for infection and almost 25% will die. Another 20% will lose arms, legs or live with permanent brain damage or even experience hearing loss.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Connecticut Conference Municipalities

The bill needs to be amended to require that the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Health collaborate and distribute the informational materials rather than imposing a mandate on local and regional boards of education to do so.

Reported by: Ashley Cunningham

Date: 3/11/2008