Molly Ringwald helps launch The 16 Vaccine initiative alongside the National Meningitis Association

National Meningitis Association

Molly Ringwald is known for her starring roles in Pretty in PinkRiverdale and many others… but there is one role she finds more important than all the rest: being a mom.

“I’m a celebrity, actor and an author. But the most important thing that I do is I parent,” Ringwald told ABC Audio, which is why she is speaking out about matters that impact her children’s health.

She is the mom of Mathilda, 17, and 11-year-old twins Roman and Adele.

The Golden Globe nominee partnered with the National Meningitis Association for the new The 16 Vaccine campaign that reminds parents about the two-dose MenACWY vaccine, which helps prevent meningococcal meningitis — a rare but potentially fatal infection. 

The NMA defines meningococcal meningitis as the inflammation of the fluid and membranes around the brain and spinal cord caused by bacteria. Adolescents and children are at higher risk of contracting it.

While rare, the NMA finds that 10 to 15 percent of cases are fatal and 20 percent of survivors suffer serious side effects such as brain damage and kidney function issues.

Ringwald, joined by NMA’s president Leslie Maier — who lost her 17-year-old son Chris to the disease — say meningitis vaccination rates among teens “dropped drastically” amid the COVID-19 pandemic and hope to get those numbers up.

Ringwald adds “every parent is going to make their own decision” about their child’s health needs, but said she chose to protect her kids against meningitis because “I personally believe that if my child died from something that was preventable from a vaccine, I don’t think I could ever forgive myself.”

Adds Maier, “And as a parent who whose son was not vaccinated, I would give anything to have him back… I want other parents to know the vaccines save lives.” 

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