The Kimberly Coffey Foundation actively works to educate lawmakers on meningococcal disease and to advocate for better meningococcal vaccine policy across the country. We were heavily involved with the passing of the meningococcal disease law in New York State in 2016, as well as current efforts to end select vaccine exemptions. In addition, through the work of the Foundation, June has been declared ‘Meningitis B Awareness’ month in New York state since 2015.
New York State Meningococcal Vaccine Law
Effective 9/1/2016, all New York State students entering 7th and 12th grades will be required to be vaccinated for meningococcal disease (serogroups A,C,W&Y). The Kimberly Coffey Foundation advocated for the prevention of meningococcal disease in Albany, and we told Kimberly’s story in an effort to prevent future tragedies from this vaccine-preventable disease. Although bittersweet, Kimberly’s story and our advocacy played a significant role in the passage of this new immunization law.
It's very important to know, that at this time, this requirement does not include MenB (serogroup B) vaccination, and that without the addition of a MenB vaccine series, you will not be fully immunized against all 5 of the common groups of meningococcal disease. MenB vaccination is at the discretion of the healthcare provider and patient, therefore, it’s necessary to have a conversation with your healthcare provider about MenB vaccination.
Kimberly had been vaccinated for meningococcal disease (serogroups A,C,W&Y) but died from MenB in 2012 when a vaccine for MenB was not yet available in the U.S. As of 2014, MenB vaccination is available in the U.S.
As of June 2019, New York is reviewing legislation that would revise state laws to make medical exemptions the only permissible exemption (eliminating non-medical exemptions: religious and philosophical exemptions) for New York's vaccination requirement. Vaccine exemptions have become a significant issue following what is now the worst measles outbreak in the last two decades, with NY state leading in the number of cases.
We know the value and benefit of vaccinations very well, and believe that children deserve to be protected. That is why the Kimberly Coffey Foundation works actively to support lawmakers advocating for medical exemptions as the only permissible exemption by sharing Kimberly’s story.
On May 6, we joined the Medical Society of the State of New York, March of Dimes New York State, Dr. Joseph Sellers, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Senator Brad Hoylman, Nurse Practitioner Association New York State, New York State Academy of Family Physicians (NYSAFP), New York Chapter American College of Physicians (NYACP), Autism Science Foundation, Nurses Who Vaccinate, and the New York State Association of County Health Officials, to speak about the importance of vaccination to local media.
NATIONAL AND STATE RESOLUTIONS
The Kimberly Coffey Foundation actively works with policymakers at the national and state level to promote the adoption of resolutions on meningococcal disease and Meningitis B. These resolutions serve to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination against meningococcal disease among lawmakers.
Since 2015, with the support of Senator Kemp Hannon and other New York lawmakers, June has been declared ‘Meningitis B Awareness’ month in New York. In 2018 and 2019, the Foundation, along with the Emily Stillman Foundation, succeeded in the adoption of two resolutions in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, declaring April 24 as Meningitis B Awareness Day in the United States.