Bacterial Meningitis: Is not getting the vaccine worth the risk?

Dec 27, 2012, 09:07 ET from The Immunization Partnership

HOUSTON, Dec. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Parents, what are you waiting for? 

On January 1, 2012, the Schanbaum/Williams law required all college students under age 30 and attending class on a Texas campus, to be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis prior to school entry. The intent is to protect our college students from this horrible disease. With the start of the spring semester approaching in the next few weeks, it is imperative for students to be vaccinated before registering.

Anna C. Dragsbaek, Public Health attorney and president and CEO of The Immunization Partnership, was instrumental in getting the law passed.  "Bacterial meningitis is a deadly disease that can be prevented through vaccination. It's critical we keep our youth and young adults up to date on vaccines, thus keeping them healthy."

Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is easily spread by direct contact, or by droplets of respiratory secretions (coughing, sneezing, kissing, and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation). Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.  The bacterium can also infect the blood.  Symptoms include fever, headache, a stiff neck, and often nausea, vomiting, and mental awareness changes.  Symptoms can progress rapidly, sometimes leading to death in 24-48 hours. 

Details of the new law include: 

  • Effective January 1, 2012, every student entering a public or private institution must show proof that a meningococcal vaccination dose or booster was received within the five years prior to college entry.  This includes:
    • A first-time student of an institution of higher education
    • Students who transfer to the institution from another institution
    • Students who are enrolling in the same or another institution of higher education after at least one full fall or spring semester break in enrollment

Key Stats:

  • Meningitis strikes over 4,000 Americans each year
  • 10 -12% of those infected will die

About The Immunization Partnership

The Immunization Partnership is a non-profit organization that aims to eradicate vaccine preventable diseases by educating the community, advocating evidence-based public policy and promoting immunization best practices. The primary focus areas are education, advocacy and public policy, and support of best practices. For more information on the new law and other vaccine preventable diseases, visit

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SOURCE The Immunization Partnership