Some New College Students Will Need Extra Vaccine

Texas college students moving into dorms or other campus housing for the first time in a couple of weeks will have to prove they’ve gotten a vaccine to protect against meningitis. Laurie Johnson reports.

It’s actually a state law now… students who plan to live in campus housing this semester are required to prove they’ve gotten the meningococcal vaccine. Meningitis is a rare but serious bacterial illness that can be deadly. Floyd Robinson is the director of the University of Houston’s Health Center. He says the vaccine is not one that most incoming students had gotten previously.

Most of them are coming in to the health center or going even to their family physicians, getting the meningitis vaccine locally, meaning they go to their home pharmacist or home physicians to get it. We have been giving the vaccine here of course in the health center as well, not in great numbers because most of our students are getting it before they arrive here.

Robinson says to the best of his knowledge, there has never been a case of meningitis in UH residence halls. He says incoming students don’t seem to mind the new immunization requirement.

We have had compliance. We have had parents concerned as to how they get it, where they get it, any possible side effects. In fact today, in our Health Center, we have a lot of parents who are here with their students because it’s one of the last days of orientation for students, so we’re seeing a lot of parents here today, either bringing in their forms or actually here to get the vaccine itself.

The law, known as the Jamie Schanbaum Act, was the result of a UT student’s battle with meningitis that she picked-up in that school’s dormitories.

Laurie Johnson, KUHF News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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