Is It Too Late To Get Vaccinated
The answer to this question isnt so clear-cut. If you have an unvaccinated teen headed off to college, there is still time for them to get their vaccines. Your child may also need another shot if they had the vaccine as a preteen. Meningitis vaccines are thought to only last for about five years, according to the Center for Young Womens Health.
Adults can also get the meningitis vaccine if their doctors recommend it. Certain situations can warrant the use of meningitis vaccinations. Examples include spleen removal, going to military camp, or traveling overseas.
Why Do Colleges Require Meningitis Vaccination
College life increases the risk of infection, especially diseases like meningitis. The things that make college unique and fun are also some of the reasons that students are at an increased risk for meningitis.
Close living quarters, communal areas, irregular sleep habits, big social events, and potentially unsanitary living conditions can all contribute to spreading and catching disease. Infections tend to spread fast once one case occurs. College freshmen living in dorms are especially at risk.
One study showed freshman are seven times more likely than other students to contract the disease. Understanding the significant protection vaccinations provide can motivate incoming freshmen to get it done. If an incoming freshman was vaccinated before their 16th birthday, a booster is recommended.
Roommates should be aware of potential infection.
According to Dr. Thomas Clark, a meningitis expert at the CDC, If you live in close quarters, the roommate is at very high risk to get infected.
He adds, We give preventative antibiotics to people who are around an infected patient.
Meningitis vaccines protect against four strains of the bacteria. Three strains are common in North America. The fourth protects travelers venturing out to places where the disease is more common. These vaccines help the body ward off the bacteria or viruses that cause infection.
Receiving vaccinations will allow you to focus on the most important things in college and pursue your next great adventure!
Why An Increase In Meningitis Outbreaks On College Campuses
When you are in a situation with a whole bunch of people who share items like cups, water bottles, lipstick or engage in unhygienic behavior, it just magnifies the risk, said Sankar Swaminathan, MD, division chief of infectious diseases at University of Utah Health.
Meningococcal disease is bacterial and causes bloodstream infections and meningitis. College students, especially those living in residence halls, are prone to contracting the disease because of their close proximity to each other.
In the face of the meningitis outbreaks, Princeton University will begin offering students a vaccine that not approved in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration gave the green light last week to allow the use of Bexsero, a type B meningitis vaccine. The vaccine is only licensed in Europe and Australia. Students will remain at high-risk until the disease has run its course. This vaccine will help protect students who have not been exposed, said Swaminathan.
Its easy to mistake the early signs of meningitis for the flu. Both have symptoms that include a high fever, vomiting and nausea. But according to Swaminathan anytime a high fever is accompanied by a severe headache you should see a doctor right away. Other symptoms of meningitis also include confusion, stiff neck, seizures, sleepiness, and sensitivity to light.
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Why Is Meningitis Still Causing Deaths On Us College Campuses
Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , approved a vaccine for meningococcal disease, or meningitis, yet many of this year’s 20.5 million college students are not vaccinated, leaving them vulnerable to contracting the disease.
According to the CDC, meningococcal disease refers to any illness that is caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitides and there are several serogroups, including A, B, C, Y and W-135. The illness they cause are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. They may also cause bloodstream infections. Up to 15% of people who contract it die, usually within 24 hours.
I know about this disease first-hand. I contracted it during my first few weeks of college and I nearly lost my life. I spent two weeks in coma and lost my hearing. I had to put off medical school for a year while I recovered.
How does one typically contract the disease? Meningococcus bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like spit, particularly wherever large groups of people gather together or live in close quarters. This makes college students one of the groups most at risk, as was the case for me.
While many states have mandates of vaccination for all incoming college and university freshman, at least 12 states do not require the vaccination, including my own state of Michigan. This needs to change.
This article was first published by Scientific American.
Vaccines That College Students May Need
While colleges will likely require certain vaccines, some that are not required may still be of benefit. Consider the following regardless of whether or not they are required:
- Meningococcal vaccine Particularly if your college student will be staying on campus in a dorm, they should get two different meningococcal vaccines if they did not get them previously. One protects against four types of meningococcus , and a second one protects against meningococcus B. Studies have shown that college students are at particular risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis.
- Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine Your teen may need a booster dose the dose can be with either Tdap or Td.
- Human papillomavirus or HPV vaccine If your teen has not had the recommended doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cervical and other cancers and genital warts, it should be considered. For teens starting the vaccine at age 15 years and older, three doses of HPV vaccine are recommended. If the vaccine series was started before 15 years of age, only two doses are needed.
- Your teen may also need to catch up on other vaccines including measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B vaccines.
Be sure to discuss general health issues with your child as well. Many college students become run down, don’t eat well, and don’t fit regular exercise into their routine leaving them more susceptible to illness.
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How Are The Bacteria Spread
These bacteria are passed from person-to-person through saliva . You must be in close contact with an infected persons saliva in order for the bacteria to spread. Close contact includes activities such as kissing, sharing water bottles, sharing eating/drinking utensils or sharing cigarettes with someone who is infected or being within 3-6 feet of an infected person who is coughing or sneezing.
Which Colleges And Universities Currently Require The Meningitis B Vaccine Where Have There Been Past Cases
MenB is more common among those 16-23 and is 5+ times more likely in college students. Yet few colleges are requiring the Meningitis B vaccine. There are 5,300 colleges and universities, and more than 30,000 high schools in the United States. We only know of 42 schools currently requiring Meningitis B vaccination.
schools requiring MenB vaccination
schools with past MenB case
schools recommending MenB vaccination
Scroll down to see the list of schools. Data is compiled based on publicly available data from campus immunization forms.
SCHOOLS CURRENTLY REQUIRING MENB VACCINATION
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How To Spot Meningococcal Disease
Symptoms of meningococcal disease can start like a bad case of flu but they get worse very quickly. Early treatment can be lifesaving.
Other symptoms of meningococcal disease can include:
- a headache
- cold hands and feet
- drowsiness or difficulty waking up
A rash may also appear that can develop into a purple, bruise-like rash that does not fade under pressure for instance, when gently pressing a glass against it .
If you, or a child or adult you know, has any of these symptoms, get urgent medical help. Do not wait for the rash to develop. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are vital.
Although meningococcal disease commonly causes meningitis and septicaemia, which can trigger sepsis, it can also more rarely cause other illnesses. These include pneumonia and joint infections .
Find out more about meningitis.
Are Students In College At Risk For Meningococcal Disease
In the 1990s, college freshmen living in residence halls were identified as being at increased risk for meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease and outbreaks in young adults were primarily due to serogroup C. However, following many years of routine vaccination of young people with quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine , serogroup B is now the primary cause of meningococcal disease and outbreaks in young adults. Among the approximately 9 million students aged 18-21 years enrolled in college, there are an average of 20 cases and 2-4 outbreaks due to serogroup B reported annually.
Although incidence of serogroup B meningococcal disease in college students is low, college students aged 18-21 years are at increased risk compared to non-college students. The close contact in college residence halls, combined with certain behaviors , may put college students at increased risk.
Is there a vaccine against meningococcal disease?
Yes, there are 2 different meningococcal vaccines.
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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.
Babies Older People And The Menacwy Vaccine
The MenACWY vaccine is currently recommended for teenagers as they are most likely to carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their noses and throats.
The MenACWY vaccine protects teenagers when they’re most at risk of meningococcal disease. It also stops them carrying and spreading the bacteria to other people.
Vaccinating teenagers should also help protect other people, including babies and older people, against meningococcal disease, including the extremely harmful MenW strain.
Young People Starting University Aged 25 Or Under
Various sub groups of meningococcal disease can spread quickly in areas where people live closely to each other:
- in university halls of residence
- in shared accommodation
If youre aged 25 or under, about to start university for the first time and havent yet had the MenACWY vaccination, you should ask your GP for the vaccine. Even if you have previously received the Men C vaccine you should still now ask for the MenACWY vaccine.
Ideally, you should get the vaccine at least two weeks before you start university. If you dont get the vaccine before going to university you should contact a GP in the university health centre and arrange to get the vaccine.
You can ask your GP, practice nurse or university health centre for more information about the vaccine.
‘the Legislature Saw Our Logic’
About a month later, then-Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filed Senate Bill 1107. Howard, who died in 2017, sponsored the bill, which required all incoming college students, not just those living on campus, to be vaccinated for meningitis with some exceptions.
But the bill faced slight resistance.
Williams, Schanbaum and other people who lost their children to bacterial meningitis testified in a 2011 Senate Higher Education Committee hearing in favor of the bill, but multiple Texans testified against the meningitis vaccine requirement for college students.
Some said the vaccine was unproven or a violation of the personal liberties and freedoms of college students, while others expressed concern about the safety of the vaccine and potential side effects. A couple of people questioned whether a vaccine mandate was necessary considering the low number of meningitis cases in the state.
But, the committee approved the bill, and it passed with overwhelming support in the Legislature. Only two senators and 14 House members all Republicans voted against the bill, and once again, Perry signed it into law. The law was renamed the Jamie Schanbaum and Nicolis Williams Act.
However, the law includes multiple exceptions that allow tens of thousands of college students across the state to avoid getting vaccinated against meningitis.
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Vaccines Dont Kill People
For her part, Munoz argued that anti-vaccine protesters are a small part of the population, but that their loud protests may exaggerate their influence. In fact, she said, most people support vaccination because it saves lives, and theres no evidence that its unsafe, as claimed by opponents.
Widespread vaccination will prevent the spread of meningitis as well as the return of diseases like polio, which affected her father, Munoz said.
We protect people who are less likely to be able to protect themselves through their own immune system, she said. Anti-vaccinators are doing a great disservice to the public. Vaccines dont kill people, the diseases do.
When To Get Vaccinated
The key to the meningitis vaccines is to make sure that your teen gets them at the right time. Your child may get the MCV4 vaccine if they are:
- Between 11 and 15 years old. After the initial MCV4 vaccine, your teen will get a booster shot after five years.
- After the age of 16. In this case, your teen wont need the booster shot. Important to note: Its better to get the vaccines earlier rather than later. This will help prevent meningitis during your teens high school years.
- First-year college students. This applies to those who havent received a diagnosis or missed their booster shots.
- Those deemed by a pediatrician to need extra protection. This is due to underlying illnesses. Examples include immune system disorders or a damaged spleen.
Technically, the MenB vaccine is approved for children over the age of 10. Your doctor might recommend a dose at a younger age if your child has immune system deficiencies. But MenB is usually taken around the age of 16. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends MenB shots for teens ages 16 to 18. However, it may be given to young adults up to 23 years old.
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Meningitis And Mmr Ensure You’re Vaccinated
3 December 2020
You can help support public health by making sure you’re vaccinated against meningitis and other infectious diseases.
With the coronavirus outbreak ongoing, public health is high on everyone’s agenda. If you’re able to join us on campus in September, you can help protect yourself and others from a number of other illnesses too by making sure you’re vaccinated.
Students can be more vulnerable to certain infections due to living closely with many others in student residences and mixing with large numbers of people, so now’s the time to stop and ask yourself, have I had my vaccinations?
Students Under 22 Years Of Age Who Will Take Any Face
Documentation must be submitted at least 10 days prior to the student’s first in-person class.
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, state law requires students who will be under age 22 on their first day of class at a public, private or independent institution of higher education in Texas to provide proof of immunization for bacterial meningitis. The vaccination or booster dose must have been received during the five years prior to enrollment and at least ten days before the start of classes.
Students who have been previously enrolled at Texas State and are enrolling following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester will be subject to the vaccination requirement. Students transferring from another institution of higher education will also be subject to the vaccination requirement.
Texas State requires you to meet this requirement before you will be allowed to register for classes.
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Adolescents Are At Increased Risk For Meningococcal Disease
Anyone can get meningococcal disease. However, adolescents and young adults 16 through 23 years of age are at increased risk for meningococcal disease. In addition, college students have a slightly higher risk than other teens and young adults who are not attending college. Meningococcal bacteria can cause severe disease, including meningitis, bacteremia, and septicemia, resulting in permanent disabilities and even death.
The Dangers Of Meningococcal Disease
Meningococcal disease can cause both meningitis and septicaemia . Septicaemia and meningitis can trigger , which is a life-threatening response to infection.
Meningococcal disease is rare but very serious. It requires urgent hospital treatment.
It can lead to life-changing disabilities, such as amputations, hearing loss and brain damage.
The MenACWY vaccine was previously recommended only for people at increased risk of meningococcal disease, including people who have had their spleen removed, or have a spleen that does not work properly, for Hajj pilgrims, and for travellers to countries with high rates of meningococcal disease, including parts of Africa and Latin America.
Read about having the MenACWY vaccine before travelling on our page about travel vaccinations.
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College Students Under 22 Years Old Must Receive A Meningitis Vaccination
The Texas Legislature requires that all incoming Texas college students must receive a vaccination or booster against bacterial meningitis.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You must provide evidence that you are in compliance with the meningitis requirement before you will be permitted to register for classes. Click the button below to learn more.
Is the Meningitis Shot Keeping You from Registering for Classes?
Then you’re in luck! San Jacinto College has partnered with The Immunization Clinic to provide the bacterial meningitis vaccination on campus without requiring you to pay anything when you get the shot. You can simply add the cost to your registration charges. Click the button below to learn more.
The meningitis vaccine is required for the following individuals under 22 years of age:
- All new students to San Jacinto College including dual credit
- All returning San Jacinto College students who have had a break in enrollment for one or more Fall or Spring semesters
- All incoming Transfer students
- All Continuing and Professional Development students taking “linked” courses. A linked CPD course is any course held in conjunction with an academic/credit course.
Obtain the vaccination from a private physician’s office, clinic, or pharmacy, or through a public clinic.
Submit your immunization record through the on-line portal by clicking HERE or bring it to the Admissions office on any San Jac campus.
Acceptable evidence of vaccination or receiving a booster dose includes: