Meningitis shots still required

Time is running out for those who need vaccinations

By Alana King
Staff Writer

Students who signed the meningitis waiver in order to register for fall 2012 must turn in proof of vaccination by Nov. 16, in order to register for the spring semester.

Students who do not do this will not be able to sign up for next semester’s classes.

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, the vaccine became mandatory. “New and returning students under the age of 30, and any student that took a break for one semester or is transferring from another college are required to show proof of vaccination,” said Virginia Jones, director of Health Services and Student Life.

Many students were allowed to attend classes after signing a waiver promising to receive the vaccination by the end of the year. North Lake College is among many other colleges and universities in the state who require this vaccination.

According to the Dallas County Community College District’s catalog page on this matter, bacterial meningitis is a communicable disease that spreads through close contact with an infected person or through the exchange of saliva. Meningitis symptoms include high fever, severe headache, vomiting, stiff neck and skin rashes or purple patches. However, long-term side effects are much worse. Hearing loss, blindness, kidney failure, permanent brain damage and even death are all potential long-term consequences of this disease.

Because this disease spreads quickly and can ravage the body (death can occur within 8-24 hours after being infected), knowledge and prevention are crucial. The vaccine offers protection against the disease and is good for 3-5 years.

Students who object to getting this vaccination on ethical or religious grounds, or for specific health reasons, must turn in the “Exemption from Immunizations for Bacterial Meningitis for Reasons of Conscience” document available on the District’s website, https://www1.dcccd.edu/catalog/admiss/bacterial.cfm?loc=DCCCD

Students receiving the shot need to ask for documentation for proof of vaccination, and the document must include the student’s name, birthday, name and address of the clinic and the signature of the health professional who administered the vaccine.

“Students can receive the vaccine at local pharmacies, clinics or the Dallas County Health & Human Services Department,” said Jones.

The costs of this vaccine can range from $118 to $180, but Jones said, “some insurance plans may cover part of the cost.” Insured students should check their plans to see if the shot is covered.

The Office of Admissions must receive proof of vaccination or the exemption form from students who signed the waiver by Friday Nov. 16, in order for them to register for the spring 2013 semester.

For more information about meningitis vaccines or where to get them, check with the North Lake Health Center in Room C-200.