Group Settings as a Risk Factor

Recent data show that the risk for meningococcal disease in college students is slightly higher than the risk in other teens and young adults who are not attending college. College campuses have reported outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease in recent years.

College students walking across campus to their classes.

Many states require colleges to provide information on risks of meningococcal disease to incoming students or students residing on campus. Some states, colleges, and universities require meningococcal vaccination for certain students, unless the students provide a vaccination waiver. These requirements can include meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccines, serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccines, or both.

CDC recommends MenACWY vaccination for first-year college students living in residence halls. If they received the vaccine before their 16th birthday, they need a booster shot for maximum protection before going to college.

CDC recommends MenB vaccination for people at increased risk during serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreaks. MenACWY vaccines do not include protection against serogroup B meningococcal disease. In an outbreak setting, CDC recommends a MenB booster shot for college students who previously received the vaccine series. Talk with your doctor about what is best for your specific situation.

Learn more about meningococcal vaccine recommendations.

Page last reviewed: February 7, 2022