Immunizations that MAY BE RECOMMENDED for college students:
- Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A vaccine is now universally recommended for all children at age 1 year. Anyone who wants to reduce their risk of getting Hepatitis A should consider this vaccine. Hepatitis A is usually spread by close personal contact. The virus is in the stool of infected persons. It can also be spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with feces containing the virus. Certain international travelers, men who have sex with men, and illicit drug users are all considered at increased risk for hepatitis A infection. Persons who have chronic liver disease are at increased risk for severe adverse consequences of Hepatitis A infection. Hepatitis A vaccine is strongly recommended for these groups.
- Hepatitis B. This vaccine is strongly recommended for all young adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now universally recommended beginning at birth. In North Carolina, Hepatitis B vaccine is required for persons born after July 1, 1994 for entry into school (K-1). Adults who are at increased risk of hepatitis B infection include sexually active heterosexual adults with more than one sex partner or a history of a sexually transmitted disease, men who have sex with men, persons at occupational risk of contact with human blood, and others.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. and is the leading cause of cervical cancer. In June 2006 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed the first HPV vaccine for use in females 9-26 years of age. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (AVCIP) has recommended that this vaccine routinely be give to girls at 11-12 years of age. Currently the vaccine is recommended for all females 9-26 years of age, preferably before the initiation of sexual activity. This vaccine helps protect against cervical cancer, abnormal or precancerous genital lesions, and genital warts. The 4 HPV types included in the vaccine account for approximate 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts.
- Influenza. This infection is spread by respiratory droplets and persons in closed populations (for example, residence halls and classrooms) may be at increased risk. Vaccination reduces the likelihood of becoming ill, minimizes the disruption of routine activities during epidemics, and reduces complications in persons with chronic illness. Students with chronic medical conditions (including diabetes) or chronic heart or respiratory conditions (including asthma) should be vaccinated and any other students may consider receiving the vaccine. The vaccine must be repeated yearly in the fall, ideally in October to mid-November.
- Meningococcal. A dose of meningococcal vaccine is recommended at or greater than age 16 years, preferably before enrollment, but before age 22 years. First year college students living in residence halls have a 6.33 times higher risk of meningococcal disease than college students overall, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The vaccine does not protect against all subtypes of meningococcal meningitis and the duration of immunity is unknown. The vaccine may reduce the risk of this potentially fatal disease.
- Mumps. Campus Health Services, the American College Health Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that all college students receive two doses of the combined measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine or the mumps vaccine or have other evidence of mumps immunity (physician diagnosis or laboratory evidence). Current North Carolina law requires 2 doses of mumps or MMR vaccine.
- Pertussis. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In 2005, two Tetanus, Reduced Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis (Tdap) vaccines were licensed in the U.S. for use in persons ages 10 to 64. A single dose of Tdap is recommended to replace a single dose of Tetanus and Diphtheria (Td) for adolescents aged 11-18 and for adults 19-64 years of age. Adults who have or anticipate having close contact with infants <12 months of age should receive a single dose of Tdap as soon as feasible. An interval of ≥ 2 years since their last Td is suggested. Ideally, Tdap should be given at least 1 month before close contact with the infant. Women should receive a dose of Tdap in the immediate post-partum period if they have not previously received Tdap. Any woman considering pregnancy is encouraged to receive a single dose of Tdap. Students working in health-care settings should receive a single dose of Tdap as soon as feasible.
- Varicella (chicken pox). Varicella is a very common childhood infection. Varicella vaccination is a series of two doses of vaccine if initiated when the student is ≥ 13 years old. However, June 2006 the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended a second dose of vaccine be given to children as well at 4-6 years of age to improve and lengthen protection. The ACIP also recommended that children, adolescents and adults who previously received only one dose should get a second dose. There are no federal laws requiring immunizations and state laws vary. Currently in North Carolina, one dose of varicella vaccine OR documented history of chickenpox or immunity is required for persons born after April 1, 2001 for entry into school (K-1). If a student has not had this infection or vaccination, the vaccine should be considered to reduce disruption of routine activities (including missing classes for 2 weeks and quarantine to residence hall or home). The decision to immunize should be made between the student and his/her health care provider.
There are other immunizations that may be recommended in certain situations (for example: students who travel to countries outside the USA, students who have had their spleens removed, students with sickle cell disease, students with increased occupational risk).
Please call Campus Health Services or contact your health care provider for more information.