SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego State University announced that it will require all incoming students be fully vaccinated against meningococcal serogroup B beginning with the fall 2019 semester.
Students will be required to present proof of vaccination by the 10th day of classes in their first semester. Those who fail to do so will receive a hold on their account, rendering them unable to register for classes or alter their schedule until they confirm with the university they have received the full series of meningococcal B vaccines.
The decision is partly a reaction to university's three confirmed cases of meningococcal meningitis during the most recent academic year. The potentially deadly bacterial illness led county health officials to declare an outbreak on the campus and urge students, faculty and staff members who may have been affected to seek antibiotic treatment.
"We support San Diego State University's decision to make it a requirement," said Dr. Eric McDonald, the medical director of the county Health and Human Services Agency's Epidemiology and Immunization Branch. "It's a very prudent requirement for incoming students because it would help to prevent them from getting the disease."
The new requirement is compliant with revised California State University immunization requirements, which are scheduled to go into effect during the fall 2020 semester. Adding meningococcal B as a required vaccine also supersedes the CSU requirements, which only list the vaccine as a recommendation.
Students will also be required to receive vaccines against measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chicken pox, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningococcal serogroups A, C, Y and W-135 and tuberculosis, per the new CSU rules. Prior CSU rules only required students to receive the MMR and hepatitis B vaccines.
"As we became aware of the immunization conversations occurring at the CSU level, it was important for us to make the menB vaccine a required immunization given our ongoing meningococcal serogroup B outbreak, but more importantly, for the overall health and safety of our campus community," said Andrea Dooley, the university's associate vice president for student affairs.
According to the university, about 9,000 students have been vaccinated against meningococcal B to date.