Law Protects College Students

Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a bill that requires all first-time college students to be vaccinated for meningitis. The head of the Immunization Partnership says the law ensures all campuses will be safe for all students. Pat Hernandez has more.

Governor Perry signed the bill a month after the observance of World Meningitis Day.

Anna Dragsbaek is president and CEO of the Immunization Partnership. She says the new law is named after two college students who battled the disease.

“Nicolis Williams passed away just this past February up at College Station, Texas A&M, and Jamie Shanbaum survived the disease, but is severely debilitated. She lost all of the digits on her fingers, and she lost her legs below the knee.”

She says a CDC committee found college age individuals between the age of 17-21 are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

“Meningitis is spread through close contact with others. They have a very active social life, which means that they’re mixing with a lot of  people.”

She says one particular strain, meningococcal meningitis, is preventable through vaccine. Every college student will now have to show that they’ve had the meningitis vaccine at least in the last five years. The law goes into effect in January.