Legislation unanimously approved by the Senate Health Committee Wednesday will require students at Indiana’s public colleges and universities to receive a meningitis immunization before attending.
Students at Indiana public colleges and universities are required to have several immunizations before attending, including tetanus, measles and mumps. Representative Ron Bacon’s (R-Chandler) bill would add meningitis to that list.
Bacon says that addition is vital.
“It’s not like having mumps or measles and going home for two weeks and taking care of things and going back to school or going back to work,” Bacon says. “Ten to 15 percent of these folks, once you have an outbreak, they’re going to die.”
Bacon notes that Indiana’s K-12 system already requires meningitis immunization. He says that means his bill is really more about students from outside Indiana.
“They are not following the same guidelines. They are for rubella, mumps – the routine diseases that we are vaccinated for. But for meningitis, they are not. So we are not sure who does and who doesn’t,” Bacon says.
Bacon’s bill would take effect next summer, giving colleges and universities a year to prepare.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends a meningitis vaccination for all children at 11 to 12 years old, with a booster at age 16.