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Community Settings as a Risk Factor

College StudentsCollege students, especially first-year college students living in residence halls, are at a slightly increased risk for meningococcal disease compared with other persons of the same age. Many states have adopted legislation requiring colleges to provide information on risks of meningococcal disease to incoming students and/or students residing on campus, and some have mandated vaccination for certain students, unless a vaccination waiver is provided.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued the following recommendations regarding the use of vaccines for college students:

  • First-year college students living in residence halls are recommended to be vaccinated with meningococcal conjugate vaccine. If they received this vaccine before their 16th birthday, they should get a booster dose before going to college for maximum protection.
  • Colleges who have requirements for vaccination of matriculating students should consider a vaccine received within 5 years before matriculation as valid.
  • The risk for meningococcal disease among non-first-year college students is similar to that for the general population. However, the vaccine is safe and effective and therefore can be provided to non-first-year college students.

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