SUBJECT: Meningitis Vaccination Policy
Meningitis is a rare, but potentially fatal, bacterial infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The most dangerous and contagious form is "meningococcal" meningitis. Meningococcal disease can be rapidly fatal (1 in 5 patients die), and survivors may suffer permanent disabilities such as amputation, hearing loss, seizures and brain damage.
The risk of meningococcal disease among US college students aged 18-23 is lower than that of their age peers not enrolled in college, but rates are higher among students who live in residence halls. While the numbers are relatively low; only 100-125 students get sick yearly; the infection is so serious, many colleges and universities are requiring students to be immunized. The administration believes it is in the interest of our students and the University that a policy requiring meningitis vaccination of residential students be adopted.
Meningitis Vaccination Policy
The purpose of the Meningitis Vaccination Policy is to reduce the risk of spread of meningococcal disease among Washburn students.
Effective August 1, 2006, Washburn University will require all students residing in University-owned housing (i.e., Kuehne Hall, Living Learning Center, Washburn Village, and West Hall) to have the meningitis vaccination. Students will be required to provide documentation that they have obtained the vaccine prior to or upon moving into University housing. Those not having such verification will be required to receive the vaccine, at their expense, within five (5) days after moving in to the residence halls. EXCEPTION: Students may opt to sign a waiver acknowledging they have been educated about the meningococcal disease and related vaccine and have chosen not to be immunized.
In addition, the University strongly recommends students residing in Greek housing or participating in athletics to receive the meningitis vaccination. All Washburn students should educate themselves about this potentially dangerous disease.
President Farley recommends the Board of Regents approve this policy.
(Date) Jerry B. Farley, President