TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, March 31, 2004
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Meningitis vaccine should be required
Side effects small compared to possible death

If the old adage is true and history repeats itself, then there is no reason that the meningitis vaccine shouldn’t be mandatory at TCU. While the side-effects of the vaccine are negligible, the consequences of contracting the disease are potentially deadly.

In 2001, two students at Tulane University died from complications related to meningitis they contracted at school. According to the American College Health Association, an estimated 100 to 125 cases of meningitis occur each year on college campuses with about five to 15 of those students dying as a result. When considering these statistics, the best interest of the student body should be the basis of the administration’s decision whether to require the vaccine, not the additional cost nor a small rash that might result from the vaccine.

The ACHA indicates that living on campus can increase the risk of contracting meningitis by six — and with the current requirement in place that all freshman remain on campus for one year, it seems only logical that we would put in place measures to prevent such an easily spread disease. By not requiring such a simple prevention technique, it’s almost like we’re inviting an epidemic into the supposedly safe dorms where we house freshmen.

The vaccine is 85 to 100 percent effective in preventing the disease in older children and adults, according to the ACHA. Studies suggest that up to 80 percent of college cases are vaccine preventable. Meningitis is easily spread due to situations which are known to occur more frequently once in college — sharing cigarettes or drinks.

While many students indulge in this seemingly innocent behavior, the failure to require a vaccine could render these activities deadly.

The university should play it safe and require students to get the vaccine.
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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