Meningitis Vaccination

UNC Student Health Services would like to make you aware of a FREE vaccine available in the Student Health Center that can potentially prevent Meningococcal Meningitis.

The number of cases of Meningitis has risen on college campuses in recent years. Studies from outbreaks suggest that college students are more susceptible because they live and work in close proximity to each other in residence halls and classrooms. Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted through direct contact with a person already infected with the disease. Direct contact often occurs by exposure to air droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person and occurs with shared items, such as cigarettes or drinking glasses, or through intimate contact such as kissing.

Meningococcal Meningitis is a serious and potentially fatal bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and can lead to permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, limb amputation, kidney and heart failure, and permanent brain damage. Each year, between 100 and 125 cases of Meningitis occur on college campuses and 5 to 15 college students die as a result.

The good news is that there is a safe, effective vaccine that can provide protection against four strains of Meningococcal disease and that vaccine is available at the Student Health Center. The four strains in the vaccine account for nearly 70% of the Meningococcal cases on campuses. The CDC recommends a booster dose for all college students if it has been 3 or more years since your last Meningitis vaccine.

When someone is diagnosed with Meningitis, it is not unusual for students to panic because they suddenly realize how rapidly the disease progresses and that they are, indeed, very vulnerable. To eliminate some of this fear and panic, make sure you are current on your vaccines.

The UNC Student Health Center, thanks to donations from Sierra's Race Against Meningitis, is once again offering Meningitis vaccines to anyone in need, including students, staff and faculty, up to the age of 55. If it has been three or more years since your last dose, it is recommended that you receive a booster dose. Stop into the health center located in Cassidy Hall anytime for your free vaccine!

Sierra Krizman, was a UNC student who passed away suddenly at the age of 20 from Meningitis. In honor of Sierra, her family and friends have worked tirelessly to provide free vaccines to our community. Please consider sponsoring this life saving cause. Information can be found at

sierra sierra logo

If you are a Freshman living in student housing, you must acknowledge that you have received the vaccine. If you have elected not to have the vaccine, you must still read and acknowledge that you understand the risks of non- vaccination when you complete your housing contract.

Meningococcal Meningitis can cause death or amputation in as little as 24 hours and is highly contagious. College student are at highest risk for contracting Meningitis. Immunization can reduce your risk. Additional information about this disease is available online at the CDC website or contact your family physician for advice.

The CDC and The American College Health Association recommend a Meningitis booster for all College students if it has been three or more years since your last dose.

If you have not gotten a Meningitis vaccine or if you are due for a booster, you can get this in the UNC Student Health Center, located in Cassidy Hall. The Student Health Center is currently offering this vaccine FREE of charge . Please call 970-351-1919 for additional information.

For more information, go to the Meningococcal Vaccine sheet by the Center for Disease Control.

You tube Meningitis video for college students from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Video Link: Princeton University students discuss recent Meningitis outbreak on campus.( Video- Courtesy of the Student Health Advisory Board, Princeton University.)