Meningitis Vaccine Information

About the Meningococcal Vaccine

A meningococcal vaccine is available for protection against most strains of the bacteria that causes meningitis. Meningitis is the inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord that is fatal in 10 to 15 percent of the cases. Though the disease is rare, college students living in dormitories and individuals with weak immune systems can be more susceptible to the disease. The immunization requires one injection in the arm and is 85 to 90 percent protective against strains A, C, Y and W-135, but not type B. Most Meningococcal diseases in the U.S. are caused by types B or C. A booster is recommended after three to five years, if still at higher risk.

Maryland law requires that every individual enrolled at the University of Maryland and who resides in on-campus housing be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. A student may be exempt from this vaccination requirement if after having been advised of the risks of the disease and the availability and effectiveness of the vaccine, the student (or parent/legal guardian in the case of a minor) signs a written waiver stating that he or she has reviewed the information and has chosen not to be vaccinated against the disease. This law includes both undergraduate and graduate students. Please have this form completed and returned to the University Health Center. You will not be allowed to remain in campus housing until you comply. Revised 10/2009

If you have any questions regarding immunizations, please call (301) 314-8114 or email immunization@health.umd.edu.