All New Texas College Students to Receive Meningitis Vaccine

Act becomes law Jan. 1

By Ben Russell
|  Friday, Dec 2, 2011  |  Updated 6:01 PM CDT
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Vaccine coming to all new and transfer students under 30 starting Jan. 1.

Ben Russell

Vaccine coming to all new and transfer students under 30 starting Jan. 1.

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All it takes is a cough, a sip of soda or a kiss.

Bacterial meningitis very easily can be spread from someone carrying the potentially deadly bacteria.

As of Jan. 1, the state of Texas will require new college students to receive a meningitis vaccination.

"This is a disease that is notable because it attacks healthy people," said Dr. Carol Baker, of the Texas Children's Hospital.

Baker said she supports the Jamie Schanbaum and Nicolis Williams Act because it will save the lives of young people.

Starting Jan. 1, the legislation requires all incoming and transfer college students to be vaccinated before starting school in the Texas.

The act is named in part in honor of Nicolis Williams, a 20-year-old Texas A&M student who died of bacterial meningitis in February.

His father, Greg Williams, said his son was a healthy young man.

"[He] went from a very vibrant individual to brain-dead within three hours -- devastating," he said.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include fever, headache, a stiff neck and, often, nausea, vomiting and mental awareness changes.

Texas will be the first state to require universal vaccination as a prerequisite for college enrollment.

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