The law in Texas concerning college students and vaccinations for meningitis has changed.  All students, whether they are new or transferring, attending any institution of higher learning, up to and including age 21, are required to get a vaccination for meningitis.  Previously, the law had set the bar higher, up to age 30, but because the CDC recommendation was 21 many insurances companies weren’t covering the cost for students ages 22-30. 

“In Texas we’ve had several meningitis outbreaks with individuals dying of the disease who were not in dormitories and who were college students, so our state legislature had extended the vaccine requirement a little further,” says Dr. Melanie Mouzoon, Managing Physician for Immunization Practices at Kelsey Seybold Clinic.  “So now the vaccine requirement for the state of Texas has been more aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.  So it should be covered by people’s insurance.”

All students are required to show proof of getting an initial immunization or a booster shot if it has been more than 5 years since the last vaccine was administered. 

Dr. Mouzoon says there are no changes to protocols from younger students concerning vaccines, but said she does encourage parents to get the HPV vaccine at entry to middle school, at the same time they are getting vaccines for pertussis and meningitis. 

“HPV is a cause of cancer and this vaccine does a very good job a preventing the HPV related cancers, and I think parents are a little hesitant because it’s not required by the school, but it’s really a very safe and effective vaccine,” Dr. Mouzoon tells KTRH.

She also recommends that everyone get a flu vaccine before school.  They will be available as early as mid-August.