Press Release – July 25, 2016

California Immunization Coalition Encourages College-Bound Students and Their Families to Make Vaccinations Part of ‘Back-to-School’ Preparations

 Recent Meningitis Cases on California College Campuses a Reminder of Importance of Vaccinations; Department of Public Health Has Updated College Educational Materials to Include Information on Meningitis B, the Most Common Cause of Bacterial Meningitis Among Teens and Young Adults

Sacramento (July 25, 2016) – The California Immunization Coalition (CIC) today urged California college-bound students to prioritize vaccinations as part of back-to-school preparations and to have a conversation with their health care provider about the most appropriate vaccine schedule. Recent cases of measles, mumps and meningitis on college campuses, including in California, have served as stark reminder of the importance of remaining up-to-date on vaccinations for California teens and young adults.

“Californians have unfortunately become all too familiar recently with the devastating effects of vaccine-preventable illnesses such as meningitis on local college campuses. It is critical that college-bound students have a conversation with their health care providers about the most appropriate vaccination schedule and prioritize being up-to-date on their vaccines as part of back-to-school preparations,” said California Immunization Coalition Executive Director Catherine Martin. “We urge all California students and their families to review the California Department of Public Health educational materials on vaccines to learn how to protect themselves against devastating diseases such as meningococcal and meningitis B.”

Meningitis spreads quickly through close living quarters such as dorms, which is why college-age students are among the most susceptible. Close contact such as kissing, coughing and smoking can also increase the risk of getting the disease. According to the Department of Public Health, about one in ten people who get meningococcal disease will die from it even if treated. Up to one in five survivors will lose a limb, become deaf, suffer brain damage, or have other complications. There are currently vaccines available to protect against all serogroups of meningococcal disease.

The California Department of Public Health recently updated its educational information on meningococcal disease for incoming college students to include information about meningitis B, the most common cause of bacterial meningitis among teens and young adults. The information, which all colleges in the state now provide to incoming freshmen, includes a response form to indicate that the student has received the information on meningococcal disease and the availability of the vaccine to help prevent the disease. All students are then required to return the postsecondary educational institution form along with a response about whether or not they will get the available vaccinations.

To view the Department of Public Health brochure on vaccinations and meningococcal disease, visit: http://eziz.org/assets/docs/IMM-688.pdf

For more information on immunization recommendations for college students as well as screening requirements, visit http://www.shotsforschool.org/college/

About California Immunization Coalition

The California Immunization Coalition is a public-private partnership dedicated to achieving and maintaining full immunization protection for all Californians to promote and prevent serious illness. For more information, visit http://www.immunizeca.org

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