Meningitis Vaccination Information
As the Wellness Center Director of Hofstra University, I am writing to inform you about meningococcal disease, a potentially fatal bacterial infection commonly referred to as meningitis, and a new law in New York State. On July 22,2003, Governor Pataki signed New York Public Health Law (NYS PHL) 2167 requiring institutions, including colleges and universities, to distribute information about meningococcal disease and vaccination to all students meeting enrollment criteria, whether they live on or off campus. This law became effective August 15, 2003 (prior to Fall 2003 semester).
Hofstra University is required to maintain a record of the following for each student:
- A response to receipt of meningococcal disease and vaccination information signed by the student or student’s parent or guardian. This must include information on the availability and cost of meningococcal meningitis vaccine. (Menomune);
- AND EITHER
- A record of meningococcal meningitis immunization within the past 10 years; OR
- An acknowledgement of meningococcal disease risks and refusal of meningococcal meningitis immunization signed by the student or student’s parent or guardian.
Meningitis is rare. However, when it strikes, its flu-like symptoms make diagnosis difficult. If not treated early, meningitis can lead to swelling of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal column as well as severe and permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, limb amputation and even death.
Cases of meningitis among teens and young adults 15 to 24 years of age (the age of most college students) have more than doubled since 1991. The disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year and claims about 300 lives. Between 100 and 125 meningitis cases occur on college campuses and as many as 15 students will die from the disease.
A vaccine is available that protects against four types of the bacteria that cause meningitis in the United States – types A, C, Y and W-135. These types account for nearly two thirds of meningitis cases among college students.
You may obtain the Menomune vaccine through your primary care provider or at the Hofstra University Wellness Center. Unfortunately, since there is no publicly funded supply of the vaccine, there is a charge of $100.00.
I encourage you to carefully review the linked materials. If you haven't already, please complete and return the Meningococcal Meningitis Response Form and return it to Hofstra University Wellness Center, 275 Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y. 11549 as soon as possible. We are notifying you of this new state law and are asking for your cooperation in complying with these new state regulations. This new law will require the University to exclude all noncompliant students from attending the University. The Hofstra University Wellness Center is able to assist you in becoming compliant with Public Health Law 2167
To learn more about meningitis and the vaccine, please feel free to contact the Wellness Center and/or consult your student’s health care provider. You can also find information about the disease on our FAQ page, at the New York State Department of Health web site, the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the American college Health Association’s website.
Maureen B. Houck DNP, APRN-BC, FNP
Hofstra University Wellness Center