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How Often Do College Students Need Meningitis Vaccine

Who Is At Most Risk For Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcus Vaccine – Why Do College Students Need It?

High-risk groups include anyone with a damaged spleen or whose spleen has been removed, those with persistent complement component deficiency , HIV infection, those traveling to countries where meningococcal disease is very common, microbiologists who routinely work with the bacteria and people who may have been exposed to meningococcal disease during an outbreak. People who live in certain settings such as college dormitories and military housing are also at greater risk of disease from some serotypes.

What Parents Of College Students Need To Know About Meningitis

WAUSAU, Wis. – Its that time of the school year where teens and young adults are counting down the days to the holidays and a much-needed break from classes. In 2008, Jamie was a college freshman getting ready to complete her first semester and head home for the holidays when her life changed forever. In just 24 hours, she went from being a healthy college student to fighting for her life after contracting meningococcal disease, also known as meningitis. Jamie spent seven months in the hospital, ultimately losing both of her legs below the knees, and all of her fingers due to the disease. While many colleges require MenACWY vaccination, MenB vaccination has only been available since 2014, and most colleges still do not require it. She is sharing her story to ensure that parents are aware there are two different types of vaccines to help prevent meningitis one for MenACWY, and one for MenB, to help other families avoid her experience.

Jamie joined NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Tuesday along with GSK vaccine expert, Dr. Len Friedland. He said during the pandemic, its more important than ever for parents to educate themselves and utilize the vaccines available to help protect their kids against vaccine-preventable diseases they may be at risk for, like meningitis.



· Even if your college-aged children are not attending in-person classes due to COVID-19 precautions, they may still be at risk for diseases like MenB.

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Potential For Fake Vaccination Documents

However, Eric Feldman, professor of law and professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School predictsthere will be a small portion of students who will try to get out of getting the vaccinethrough various means.

He says he worries some students will try to make fake vaccination cards.

“What I was handed when I got vaccinated was a three-inch by three-inch piece of paper with a little sticker and a number on it,” Feldman recalls. “Anybody with a scanner and some photoshop skills could have created that in about 30 seconds.”

Indeed some TikTok users have even begun bragging about forging their vaccination documents.

Fortunately, Feldman says many schools are taking steps to make getting the vaccine easier than creating a counterfeit vaccination passport.

“It’s a whole lot easier to get vaccinated than forge a card, but they’ll probably do it anyway,” he says with a chuckle.

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Determine If The Law Applies

1. Does the Bacterial Meningitis law apply to me?

YES, if you are
NO, you are exempt if you are:
  • under 22 years old. AND
  • Enrolling for the first time as a credit student. OR
  • Returning after a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester. OR
  • A Transferring or Transient student to one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District family from another college or university.
  • A Continuing Education student enrolled in a program of 360 hours or more
  • 22 years of age or older by the first day of the semester. OR
  • A student not taking courses on a campus in the Alamo Colleges District family . OR
  • Enrolled continuously in one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District family since fall 2011. OR
  • Taking Continuing Education classes in a program of less than 360 hours.

2. How to comply with the law

  • Submit proof of having received the bacterial meningitis vaccination within the last 5 years. OR
  • Opt out of the vaccine by submitting an exemption form based on medical reasons, conscientious objection or taking only online courses.

Common Health Concerns College Students Face And How To Handle Them

Immunization Unit

Going away to college is a big change on so many levels. But it’s also the first time that students are largely responsible for their own health and that can be a big adjustment.

“Theyre dealing with a new environment with a lot of stressors that they probably haven’t had to deal with before,” Dr. , family medicine physician at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Yahoo Life. “They’re being independent for the first time, and having to make a lot of decisions, from things what to eat and how to deal with schedules to bigger issues like their health.”

One of the biggest transitions is going from a pediatric to an adult health care model, “which involves independently presenting for medical care without significant parental involvement,” Dr. Amanda Rajendran, family medicine physician and medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center at Northern Illinois University, tells Yahoo Life. In other words, students need to be able to recognize when they’re having a health issue and take the initiative to do something about it.

Students will also need to make personal decisions that can impact their overall health, Dr. Sophia Tolliver, family medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Yahoo Life. These decisions, she says, “may lead to a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle.”

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You Got Meningitis Vaccination As A Child

You might have had a meningococcal group C vaccination as a child, however, due to an increase in type W across the UK you are now recommended to have the MenACWY vaccine.

This will boost your protection against Men C and also protect you against the types A, W and Y. It wont protect you against all the types of meningococcal disease which is why it is also important to know the signs and symptoms.

Do Teens Need A Meningitis Vaccine Booster

If your kids were 11 or 12 years old when they were first vaccinated against meningitis, they may need a booster shot in their teens. It often depends on the type of meningitis vaccine that was given.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , teens and young adults may need a booster, or follow-up, meningitis vaccination, depending on when they were first vaccinated and any high-risk circumstances they might be facing.

Meningitis is an infection of the blood and cerebrospinal fluid with severe consequences, including hearing loss, learning delays, the loss of fingers or toes, and even death. A number of different types of bacteria, viruses, and even fungi can cause meningitis. One of the common causes of bacterial meningitis is the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. When children are vaccinated, it is to protect against several subtypes of this bacteria.

The risk for meningitis infections increases among teens and college students, in part because these groups spend so much time in close quarters, easily exposing one another to infectious agents. For many years, the meningitis vaccine used for teens was the MPSV4, or polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine. A new meningitis vaccine, the MCV4, or meningococcal conjugate vaccine, was approved in 2005. It is recommended for use in children over age 2 and in young adults, and is now usually given to kids at their 11- or 12-year-old check up, unless they needed to be vaccinated sooner.

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Menb Vaccines Require Multiple Doses

Both MenB vaccine products require more than 1 dose for maximum protection. Adolescents must receive the same vaccine product for all doses.

  • Bexsero:® Administer 2 doses. Administer the second dose at least 1 month after the first dose.
  • Trumenba:® Administer 2 or 3 doses.
  • Administer 2 doses to healthy adolescents who are not at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease. Administer the second dose 6 months after the first dose.
  • Administer 3 doses to adolescents who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease. This includes during outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease. Administer the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first dose. Administer the third dose 6 months after the first dose.

How Do I File For An Exemption

SDSU students may need to get another meningitis vaccine
  • If you are over the age of 22 prior to the start of the term, you will automatically receive the exemption.
  • If you plan on taking only online courses, you will need to contact the Admissions Office and ask for the exemption. Note: if Admissions grants you this exemption and then you enroll in on-campuses courses, you will be dropped from these on-campus courses.
  • Students can opt to file an exemption under one of the provisions from the Texas Department of State Health Services by completing the exemption form found at .
  • The form is valid for any student requesting an exemption under one of provisions regardless if the student is living on or off campus or their age.
  • You must print the form, complete it, and submit it to the Admissions Office.

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Are Students Required To Get Meningococcal Vaccine Before College

Yes. Massachusetts law requires the following students receive quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine :

  • Secondary School : newly enrolled full-time students who will be living in a dormitory or other congregate housing licensed or approved by the secondary school must provide documentation of having received a dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine at any time in the past.
  • Postsecondary Institutions : newly enrolled full-time students 21 years of age and younger must provide documentation of having received a dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine on or after their 16th birthday, regardless of housing status.

Immunizations should be obtained prior to enrollment or registration however, students may be enrolled or registered provided that the required immunizations are obtained within 30 days of registration. There is no requirement for meningococcal B vaccination. However, adolescents and young adults may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years of age, to provide short term protection for most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease.

More information about requirements and exemptions may be found in the MDPH document Information about Meningococcal Disease, Meningococcal Vaccines, Vaccination Requirements and the Waiver for Students at Colleges and Residential Schools.

You Are Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

  • Pregnant women who are at increased risk for serogroup A, C, W, or Y meningococcal disease may get MenACWY vaccines.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease may get MenB vaccines. However, they should talk with a doctor to decide if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks.

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Measles Mumps And Rubella

Most people born after 1957 in the U.S. are immunized against measles, but sometimes they missed a dose in childhood. Without both of the required shots, your college student may not have full immunity. Check your childs immunization records, and schedule a booster if necessary.

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What Is Viral Meningitis

PA Suspends School Vaccines Requirements For 2 Months

Viral meningitis, as it suggests, is a viral infection. A person may become infected with viral meningitis through close contact with an infected person. But, there is a small possibility of actually contracting the virus. Only a small number of people who become infected will actually develop meningitis.

Viral meningitis is considered less severe than bacterial meningitis. People with normal immune systems can sometimes overcome it on their own. Vaccination will help protect against this infection as well.

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College Students Now Required To Get Bacterial Meningitis Vaccine

They kiss, they share water bottles, they live in tightly packed dormitories, and so they are at a higher risk of getting meningitis, a potentially fatal disease, than many other sectors of the population.

Thats why New Jersey has just become the 38th state to require college students to be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis as a condition for attending an institution.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed bill A-1991 on Jan. 14, endorsing a law that advocates hope will prevent outbreaks of the rare but potentially deadly disease on college campuses.

Meningitis is an extraordinarily dangerous disease thats spread through casual contact, said Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz , one of the bill sponsors. It can kill you, and it can also maim you for life.

She said a typical college dorm lifestyle that involves sharing water glasses, silverware and bathrooms is more likely to spread meningitis than other settings such as crowded commuter trains or offices. Even if you work in a close space, you dont tend to kiss your co-workers, she said.

Although high school students may experience similar living conditions, they are already covered by a program that vaccinates them at about 12 and then again at 16. The new law aims to prevent the disease in the older age group.

Most Health Insurance Plans Cover The Cost For Menb Vaccination

Most health plans must cover CDC-recommended vaccines with no out-of-pocket costs if an in-network healthcare provider administers the vaccine. Adolescents or their parents should check with their insurance provider for details on whether there is any cost to them for this vaccine.

The Vaccines for Children, or VFC, program provides vaccines for children 18 and younger who are

  • Not insured
  • Medicaid-eligible
  • American Indian or Alaska Native

Parents can find a VFC provider by contacting their local health department. VFC will cover the cost of MenB vaccination for those

  • 16 through 18 years of age
  • 10 through 18 years of age identified as being at increased risk due to a medical condition
  • 10 through 18 years of age identified as being at increased risk due to a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak

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Most Universities Recommend Meningitis B Vaccine For New Students But Few Require It

There are some things that make college great: living in dorms, going to parties and sharing everything with your close friends.

It’s those conditions that also make college students more prone than most to transmittable diseases such as Meningitis B.

But while almost all colleges and universities in Pennsylvania strongly recommend students be vaccinated against the potentially fatal Meningitis B, only a few require it.

All Pennsylvania college students living in on-campus housing are required by state law to get a meningitis vaccine that covers four strains of the disease but doesn’t protect against the B strain. According to the CDC, 60 percent of 16- to 23-year-olds who contract meningitis have the B strain.

In 2018, three Pennsylvania college students contracted Meningitis B, according to Nate Wardle, a spokesman for the state Department of Health.

One was a Penn State student living on its University Park campus, who eventually recovered.

Penn State strongly recommends a Meningitis B vaccine and stocks it at its student health center, but does not require it. The university’s infectious diseases manager, Shelley Haffner, urged new students to get the vaccine anyway.

Its important for college students because of their social and living arrangements. You have a greater risk for any kind of disease, Haffner said. If you can prevent a disease, why not?

A Big 10 school, Penn State doesn’t require the vaccine because it’s not mandated by the CDC.

What Shots Do College Students Need

Ohio students required to have meningitis vaccine before school starts (WKYC)


Influenza, or the flu, is caused by a virus and can make a college student miserable from aches, chills, headache and high fever. Lost productivity, missed class time and related medical issues can arise from catching the flu while living on a campus. Studies have shown that productivity is increased and symptoms are minimized when students are vaccinated for the flu when the vaccine becomes available in early September. Encouraging your college student to head to the campus health center for a yearly flu shot not only protects your kid but also the rest of the campus community.

Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis

Tetanus is a bacterial infection that cause by a tetanus spore that makes its way into an open wound or cut somewhere on the body. Your college student could be exposed to tetanus by scraping up against a rusty fence or accidentally stepping on a loose nail on a run. Diphtheria is much less common but its a serious bacterial infection that will affect the lining of the lungs if contracted.

In order to protect your teen against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, the CDC recommends a booster of the Tdap vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12. And adults should receive a Tdap every 10 years. Check with your doctor about where your teen falls on this schedule.

Bacterial Meningitis

Many serious diseases are preventable with a simple, safe vaccine and parents should make sure their teen is up to date on all vaccines before sending them off to college.

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What Is Meningitis

Meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. The inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is also referred to as spinal meningitis.

More information about bacterial meningitis is available at the following websites:

Are Free Or Low

Yes, if you don’t have insurance or your insurance does not cover the cost of the meningococcal vaccines, you may be able to find free or low-cost meningococcal shots. Note that there may still be an administration fee of up to $21.22 per shot.

  • If you are 18 years old or younger: Talk to your doctor or clinic to see if they participate in the Minnesota Vaccines for Children Program.
  • If you are 19 years old or older: Go to Vaccination Clinics Serving Uninsured and Underinsured Adults to search for a clinic near you that offers low-cost vaccines for eligible adults.

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