Meningitis Vaccine Costs Rise For Texas College Students

Most college students in Texas must get the meningitis vaccine before enrolling in classes. But what many of them may not know is the cost of that vaccine is much higher than last year.

The Texas Legislature passed a law in 2009, requiring all incoming freshmen college students who live on campus to get the meningitis vaccine.

The state subsidized the cost of the vaccine and most students were able to get it for about $15.

Dr. Veronica Simmons is the Chief Pharmacist at the University of Houston Student Health Center. She says this year, all students under the age of 30 must be vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they live on campus.

“We’re making that announcement in orientation, they are given that information. And they can come to the health center on the day of orientation, we have staff at the orientation that are informing students about the new requirements.”

But students may be in for a bit of sticker shock when they get the shot.

The state subsidy is no longer in effect and the cost of the vaccine ranges from $115-$180 at various pharmacies. Students who have medical insurance can get the vaccine covered by their health plan.

But many uninsured students end up charging the vaccine to their financial aid.

“We do allow them to put it on their fee bill, so that does help where someone that does not have the cash or money up front they are allowed the option to put it on their fee bill. So that’s one way we at the university can help the students ensure that they get what’s needed.”

Students must show proof of vaccination or an approved waiver to opt out at least ten days before classes start.


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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