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Only 40 percent of students meet new North Dakota vaccine requirement

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High school students are required to get an additional vaccine before school starts this year.

As of July 1, only 40 percent of students were up to date on shots, the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services said.

Immunization requirements changed this year and now require students to get two doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine, or MCV4, a news release said.

The vaccine protects against a bacterial infection that can cause meningitis, which is an illness that inflames the brain and spinal cord. It can be deadly.

The health department said students should be up to date with vaccinations before school starts, but are required to be by Oct. 1. No-cost options are available for those who qualify through the Vaccines for Children Program, the release said.