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Pros and cons of the Bacterial Meningitis vaccination

Ali West, Staff Writer

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Bacterial Meninigitis

Attention seniors: if you are planning on going to a college or university next year, regardless of if you are living on campus or simply attending classes at a community college, Texas has now mandated a law stating that all students must be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis.

If you have a moral or religious objection to getting the vaccine, a university or college will need documented proof of this decision, just as they would need an immunization record from a student who received the vaccine.

Here are a few pointers to help you make the decision of whether you should get the bacterial meningitis vaccine from Randall High School Nurse, Susan Moldenhauer.

What is bacterial meningitis?

“Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.  The illness can progress rapidly and cause death or permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, brain damage, or loss of limbs. Studies suggest that college students have a slightly higher risk of contracting the illness because they live and work in close proximity.”

Who needs the vaccine?

“As of Jan. 1, 2012, State law mandates that first-time college students, students transferring from another institution and students who are re-enrolling following an absence of at least one fall or spring semester who are under 30 as of the first class day of the term be vaccinated against the illness. Students under 30 who plan to audit a course also must comply with the law, SB 1107 passed during the 82nd Legislative Session.”

Why should students get vaccinated for bacterial meningitis?

“It is important that students who plan to enroll in college be vaccinated as soon as possible. Under the law, students subject to the meningitis requirement must have received the vaccine within the past five years. Proof of vaccination is required 10 days before the first class day for the term, as the vaccine is considered effective several days after it is administered.”

Why might some students opt out of the vaccine?

“Some of the reasons that people are not vaccinated are due to religious exemptions, concerns of side effects and cost of the vaccines.”

Moldenhauer said the price of the vaccine goes up severely after the patient turns 19, so college-entrance age is the best time to get vaccinated.

Moldenhauer suggests students considering not receiving the vaccine become informed about the risk of bacterial meningitis. Here is a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=h2-U1S74OH0

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Pros and cons of the Bacterial Meningitis vaccination