I have partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health, the North Little Rock (Arkansas) Department of Health, the North Little Rock School District, and the National Meningitis Association to reach the 5,000 kids in our district ages 11-18 about the need to vaccinate against meningitis. I attended my high school's open house and handed out letters and information sheets to parents. I will attend the middle school's chilli supper and high school ball games to hand out letters and info sheets. Our school's t.v. station will present psa's. I will e mail the powerful video on the damage meningitis does to people who contract it to hundreds of students. On November 1 we are having a "shot party" at the local health department and will immunize students between 2:00 and 4:00. We'll have refreshments and have a nurse there who is a family friend to talk to students. At that time we will also give the girls information on gardisil, the vaccination against cervical cancer. This innoculation will be made available at a later date. The meningitis shot costs $80 -$100 in private clinics. The gardisil shot is $300 in private clinics. Both shots are being made available for $5 each through the cooperation of our state and local health departments. We will have a "shot party" every month until school is out. Those students who can't come to the party can arrange to have the shot at a later date. Meningitis is a deadly disease. It kills one in four people that it strikes. 30% of those who survive suffer limb amputation, brain damage, hearing and vision loss. In 2004 we had 97 cases of meningitis in Arkansas. There have been 14 so far. One is too many. We need to raise money to pay for printing of letters and brochures, stamps, food for "shot parties."
Because kids living in dorms are most at risk, I plan to also canvas the two local colleges, the University of Arkansas at LIttle Rock and Pulaski Technical College.