NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Vaccine Required For Incoming College Students

By Bill Zeeble

Dallas – Incoming college dorm residents will need an additional vaccine next month, thanks to a new Texas law. Without the shot, they cannot live in the dorm. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports.

Texas college students moving into dorms for the first time after January 1st will now need a vaccine against bacterial meningitis. June Brownlee, with the University of North Texas Student Health and Wellness Center says the bill has come up in past legislative sessions, and finally passed earlier this year. Brownlee says UNT and other schools already recommend incoming students get immunized, and now the state requires it.

Brownlee: It helps protect especially freshmen because they're the majority of students entering college housing for the first time, they're living in close quarters for the first time with lots of different people, and that close-quarter contact makes it easy for things to pass from one to another. It's very fast moving and you can have it and be sick and in the hospital before you can turn around twice.

Brownlee says bacterial meningitis can be devastating, causing brain damage, or taking fingers, toes or limbs. The new law says incoming dorm residents must have their shot 10 days prior to living in the dorm. Otherwise, they can't live there.

Brownlee: We know all universities are struggling with this, this semester. It's really hard to put a program like this together on such short notice.

The bacterial meningitis vaccine isn't not free. Brownlee says county health departments usually charge 20 to 25 dollars. But university health clinics are likely to charge a lot more. Brownless says UNT charges $116. Bill Zeeble KERA news.