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New School Meningitis Vaccine Law Leads To Shortages

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Some college students attempting to return to campus after the holiday break will not be allowed on campus.

Senate Bill 1107 went into effective January 1, 2012 and requires all new, transfer and returning college students, under the age of 30, to have documentation proving they’ve received the bacterial meningitis vaccination.

Across North Texas, the push to be vaccinated has led to shortages. In fact, officials with Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) announced Friday that they have run out of the vaccine.

DCHHS Director Zachary Thompson said the department order 50,000 vaccines to cover this week’s rush but, “We’ve only got a fraction of what we ordered.”

Dallas County had been offering the meningitis vaccines for $10. Thompson said,“The normal cost of the vaccine is $150.”

Colleges and universities across the state are warning students that they will not be allowed to attend classes on campus without evidence of vaccination.

Health officials say college students are especially at risk for meningococcal meningitis because of their age and the number of young people often living in close quarters.

Bacterial meningitis is caused when the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord becomes infected and inflamed. Coughing, sneezing, kissing and sharing personal items can spread the disease from person to person.

Texas college students 30 years old or older are exempt from the requirement, as well as students taking online or correspondence courses.

Texas is the only state in the union with such a broad meningitis vaccination mandate.

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