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The cozy dorm rooms found on college campuses make it easy for illness to spread.

Vaccinations Are Important for College Students

Dear SNC Parents: 

Living in close proximity to others is an opportune setting for illness and disease to spread. For that reason, it is essential that every precaution is taken to prevent this from happening. Vaccination is safe, effective and protects students from serious illnesses and disease. General vaccine recommendations for adults over the age of 18 include:

  • HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Tdap or Td (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)
  • Meningococcal (meningitis)

Many parents have questions about the meningococcal vaccine in particular. Meningococcal disease includes meningitis (swelling of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord) and sepsis (blood infection). Symptoms of meningococcal disease commonly include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, pinpoint rash, sensitivity to light, sleepiness and confusion. 

Meningococcal disease is very serious and often has grave consequences. Symptoms can start suddenly and can become severe very quickly, so prompt medical attention is important. Students residing on college campuses are considered an at-risk population for meningococcal disease. Outbreaks have been reported on college campuses, most recently at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in fall 2016. The good news is that meningococcal disease can be prevented by vaccination. There are two types of meningococcal vaccines available in the United States: 

  • Conjugate vaccine A, C, W, Y (Menactra and Menveo)
  • Serogroup B (Bexsero and Trumenba)

Menactra and Menveo protect people against four types of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease (serogroups A, C, W and Y) and are completed in two doses. Bexsero and Trumenba protect against a fifth bacteria, serogroup B. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all 11- to 12-year-olds be vaccinated with a meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra or Menveo), with a booster dose given at 16 years old. All teens may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (Bexsero or Trumenba), preferably at 16 through 18 years of age. Talk to your student’s healthcare professional about what is best for your specific situation. 

As parents, we want to do everything possible to make sure our children are healthy. Encourage your students to stop in at Health & Wellness Services to review their vaccination records, and to get any needed vaccinations there or via their primary care provider or pharmacy. 

Please remember that influenza season is upon us; St. Norbert administers the influenza vaccine annually in the fall semester and it is available to all students. Students can check the Health & Wellness Services website for more information or make an appointment at their convenience.    

In good health,

Chrystal Woller BSN, RN
Senior Director, Health & Wellness Services 

Nov. 12, 2018