Singer/actress Lucy Hale advocates for Voices of Meningitis
Voices of Meningitis is a public health initiative that seeks to educate both teens and moms about the best ways to avoid contracting meningococcal meningitis. One of the best methods is a second vaccination, but millions of teens have refused the vaccine.
Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call for children between the ages of 11 and 12 to get a single dose of the meningococcal vaccine. Because the effectiveness of this dose decreases after three to five years for half of the vaccinated teens, a second dose should be administered when teens reach age 16.
Despite these recommendations, data the CDC published in 2014 demonstrates that only 30 percent of teens receive the second vaccine dose, even though 77.8 percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 receive the first vaccination.
"I joined Voices of Meningitis as an ambassador after learning that millions of teens, many who are my fans, are at a heightened risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis because they have not received the CDC recommended second dose," Hale said. "To think that, within a day, the disease can attack otherwise healthy teens, causing them to lose their hearing, limbs or, even worse, die — it's terrifying. I want to do anything I can to help moms protect their teens from what is a vaccine-preventable disease."