It’s official—as of January 1, 2012, Texas college students who were new, re-enrolling after a break, or transferring to another university or community college were required to receive a vaccine against meningitis.
The state had previously required that only students living on campus receive the vaccine, but has now chosen to become the first state with such a broad vaccine requirement. The law does not require, however, that students already actively enrolled in the state receive the vaccine.
The question behind this required immunization is why.
Was this shot actually a true necessity for college students or was this a back-up law since Rick Perry didn’t learn his lesson from mandating GARDASIL.
According to the American College Health Association, meningitis affects about 100 to 125 people around college campuses nationwide and kills about 5 to 15 students a year.
With so few outbreaks, why the sudden need for a law that worsens the already slow process students must endure when registering for their college education?
If meningitis was a huge health risk to students, then all students should have had to have the shot before the start of the new semester.
According to the Texas Department of State Health and Services there were 457 Meningitis cases from 2005-2009.
Does the state consider students who have been enrolled in school to automatically not be a health risk? If so, do they have the health records of students who were already currently enrolled to show that they have had the shot in the past five years?
One of the concerns about this shot was the cost. Some health departments offered the shot for as low as $10 while others had to face costs ranging from $130-150.
As if students didn’t have to worry enough about money issues like tuition, books, and transportation.
Not saying that the meningitis shot isn’t beneficial to the health and protection of the students on campus, but to have some students have it and others not makes it less reassuring.