In June 2002, the State of SC passed the following vaccination recommendation and education law: AS TO REQUIRE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING TO NOTIFY INCOMING STUDENTS, OR THEIR PARENTS, OF THE RISK OF CONTRACTING MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE IF LIVING IN ON CAMPUS STUDENT HOUSING AND TO REQUIRE THESE INSTITUTIONS TO RECOMMEND VACCINATION AGAINST THIS DISEASE IN THE INSTITUTION'S HEALTH AND MEDICAL INFORMATION PROVIDED TO STUDENTS AND PARENTS.
In October 2010 the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices updated their recommendation for adolescents and those at risk for meningitis. This recommendation is routine vaccination of adolescents, preferably at age 11 or 12, with a booster dose at age 16 years. If the adolescent has never received the meningitis vaccine prior to age 16, the CDC recommends the vaccine for those ages 16-21 years old, but they will not need a booster dose.
Meningococcal meningitis is a potentially life threatening bacterial infection. The disease causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The American College Health Association (ACHA) estimated that 100-125 cases of meningococcal disease occur annually on college campuses, and 5 to 15 students die as a result. The disease is transmitted through the air via droplets of respiratory secretions and by direct contact with persons infected with the disease. Oral contact with shared items such as cigarettes or drinking glasses or through intimate contact such as kissing could put a person at risk for acquiring the infection.
Meningococcal vaccine, Menactra, will protect against four common forms of Nisseria Meningitis (A, C, Y and W-135), however, no vaccine is guaranteed to protect 100% of individuals. The fastest rising form of the disease among college students is group C. Currently no vaccine protects against group B. Minimal side effects of the vaccine may include mild pain and redness at the injections site. Some individuals may have other reactions like headache, fever and chills.
If you have a healthcare plan, an HMO or PPO health insurance plan, you may want to contact your provider. Some plans may cover the vaccine and if so, you may want to be vaccinated at your healthcare provider's office prior to coming to Winthrop.
Winthrop University Health Services is a member of the ACHA and follows ACHA recommendations on meningitis.
The decision to be vaccinated is yours. This information is provided so you can make an informed decision. Menactra is available at Health and Counseling Services. The cost of the vaccine is $130. The charge will be posted to the students' account as "Health Services". More detailed information is available in Health Services.