Another meningitis vaccine considered for NJ college students

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“This is preventable”

December 3, 2018
Daily Heralds

SUMMARY

An Assembly panel Monday endorsed the idea of requiring college students to get a vaccine for meningitis B, if they're living on campus.

Cases of bacterial meningitis reported at Princeton in 2013 and 2014 and Rutgers in 2016 were among the reasons cited for the proposed change.

New Jersey already requires a meningitis vaccine administered around age 12, with a booster dose at age 16. But Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, R-Union, said meningitis B vaccines have been available only since 2014 and are given between ages 16 and 18.

"This is preventable," Munoz said of the disease, which can cause death, brain damage and loss of limbs. "And we have kids living in colleges who are in close proximity to each other. They are sharing water bottles. There's kissing going on and contact."

The idea had its critics at Monday's hearing of the Assembly health committee, though not as vociferous as at some past hearings related to vaccinations.

Sarah Lane said opposing mandatory vaccinations doesn't mean opposition to all vaccines: "We can come to a place of being reasonable people that these are each individual medical interventions that need to be decided upon between patients and their providers."

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Emma Harrison