Meningococcal Disease

 

On May 18, 2000, Governor Parris N. Glendening signed into law a requirement that individuals in Maryland institutions of higher education residing in on-campus housing be vaccinated against meningococcal disease, or sign a waiver. The law went into effect 2000.

Code of Maryland Regulations became effective on November 12, 2001. See link below. To aid in complying with the law, a sample information sheet on the risks associated with meningococcal disease and the availability and effectiveness of the vaccine is provided on this site, as well as a sample waiver form.

Each institution of higher education must use a waiver form approved by its counsel. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene accepts no responsibility for deficiencies in this form.

Institutions of higher education are not required by this law to provide or pay for vaccinations for meningococcal disease.

Visit the following websites on meningococcal disease and vaccine for fact sheets, CDC recommendations, American College Health Association background information, frequently asked questions, and recent medical journal articles.

For more information on the law, visit The Maryland General Assembly

Click here to view the Meningoccal Regulations

Other College and University Immunization Requirements

Click here to download and view a sample Meningococcal disease information sheet and sample waiver form in Adobe Acrobat 4.0 format.

Sample Meningococcal disease information sheet:

Meningoccocal Vaccine For Higher Education Students

What you need to Know

Effective 2001, Maryland law requires that an individual enrolled in an institution of higher education in Maryland who resides in on-campus student housing must be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. An individual may be exempt from this requirement if (1) the institution of higher education provides the individual or the individual's parent or guardian if the individual is a minor (under 18 years of age) detailed information on the risks associated with meningococcal disease and the availability and effectiveness of any vaccine, and (2) the individual or a minor individual's parent or guardian signs a waiver stating that the individual or the parent or guardian has received and reviewed the information provided and has chosen that the individual will not be vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease is a rare but life threatening illness, caused by the bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis (an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings) in the United States. The most severe form of the disease is meningococcemia, infection of the bloodstream by this bacterium.

Deaths from meningococcal disease have occurred among Maryland college students in recent years. Students living in dormitories or residence halls are at increased risk. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene encourages meningococcal vaccination of higher education students.

About 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S. 10-15% of these people die, in spite of treatment with antibiotics. Of those who live, 10% lose their arms or legs, become deaf, have problems with their nervous systems, become mentally retarded, or suffer seizures or strokes.

About the vaccine

Meningococcal vaccine can be effective in preventing four types of meningococcal disease. The vaccine is not effective in preventing all types of the disease, but it does help to protect many people who might become sick if they don't get the vaccine. Drugs such as penicillin can be used to treat meningococcal infection. Still, about one out of every ten people who get the disease dies from it, and many others are affected for life.

A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reaction. People should not get meningococcal vaccine if they have ever had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of meningococcal vaccine. Some people who get meningococcal vaccine have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot was given (which is usually under the skin of the upper arm). A small percentage of people who receive the vaccine develop a fever. The vaccine may be given to pregnant women.

Meningococcal vaccine is available in some school health centers, travel clinics, some county health departments, and the offices of some health providers.

 

Meningococcal Disease on Campus… Know Your Risk

This is a sample form to begin the process of enforcing the meningococcal vaccine requirement. Each institution of higher education must use a waiver form approved by its counsel. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene accepts no responsibility for deficiencies in this form.

MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINE REQUIREMENT

I have received the meningococcal vaccine as required by Maryland law for individuals residing in on-campus student housing at an institution of higher education. Documentation from a physician or health clinic of receipt of vaccine is attached.

__________________________________

Name of Individual

__________________________________________

Signature of Individual 18 years or older         Date

__________________________________________

Signature of Parent/Guardian of Individual under 18 years of age                                                     Date


WAIVER

Individuals 18 years of age and older may sign a written waiver choosing not to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. For individuals under 18 years of age, the parent or guardian of the individual must review the information on the risks of meningococcal disease and sign a written waiver that he/she has chosen not to have the individual vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

For individuals 18 years of age or older:

I am 18 years of age old or older. I have received and reviewed the information provided on the risk of meningococcal disease and the effectiveness and availability of meningococcal vaccine. I understand that meningococcal disease is a rare but life threatening illness. I understand that Maryland law requires that an individual enrolled in an institution of higher education in Maryland who resides in on-campus student housing shall receive vaccination against meningococcal disease unless the individual signs a waiver to the vaccination.

I choose to waive receipt of meningococcal vaccine.

_____________________________________

Signature of Individual                        Date

For individuals under the age of 18:

I have received and reviewed the information provided on the risks of meningococcal disease and the effectiveness and availability of meningococcal vaccine. I understand that meningococcal disease is a rare but life threatening illness. I understand that Maryland law requires that an individual enrolled in an institution of higher education in Maryland who resides in on-campus student housing shall receive vaccination against meningococcal disease unless a waiver to the vaccination is signed.

I choose to waive receipt of meningococcal vaccine for my child, ____________________ .
(Name of child)(Name of child)

______________________________________

Signature of Parent/Guardian                    Date

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Center for Immunization Email:
DHMH.IZInfo@maryland.gov