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Community Settings as a Risk Factor

College Students

Infectious diseases tend to spread wherever large groups of people gather together. Many states require colleges to provide information on risks of meningococcal disease to incoming students or students residing on campus. Some states require vaccination for certain students, unless the students provide a vaccination waiver.

CDC recommends meningococcal conjugate vaccines for first-year college students living in residence halls. If they received it before their 16th birthday, they need a booster dose for maximum protection before going to college. Colleges who require vaccination of incoming students should consider a vaccine received within 5 years before school enrollment as valid. However, the vaccine is safe and effective and therefore doctors can also give it to non-first-year college students. Recent data show the risk for meningococcal disease in college students is similar to other teens and young adults who are not attending college.

College campuses have reported outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease during the last several years. Meningococcal conjugate vaccines do not include protection against serogroup B meningococcal disease. CDC recommends the use of a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine for people identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak, including outbreaks on college campuses.

Learn more about meningococcal vaccine recommendations.

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