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Meningitis State Legislation and Laws

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50 State Summary of Meningitis Legislation and State Laws

Updated October 2012 

Legislation 2011-2012 || Legislation 2009-2010 || Legislation 2007-2008 || State Laws || State Laws at a Glance Chart || Resources

Meningitis is a viral or bacterial infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.  Viral meningitis is not as severe as bacterial meningitis and is usually resolved without specific treatment.  Bacterial meningitis, a serious illness caused by meningococcal disease, may be contained through antibiotics or prevented through immunization.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1,000 to 2,600 people contract meningococcal disease each year in the United States.  One in 10 of these cases results in death.  Bacterial meningitis infections may also cause serious health problems in 11 to 19 percent of survivors such as loss of limbs, deafness, nervous system problems, mental retardation, seizures and strokes. 

Although meningitis infections progress rapidly, initial symptoms often resemble the common flu.  Symptoms may include headache, high fever, stiff neck, or a dark purple rash.  Given the high mortality rate and rapid progression of the disease, it is recommended that people at high risk for meningitis receive the immunization.  Although anyone may contract meningococcal disease, the populations identified to be at highest risk are infants under age 1, people with certain medical conditions, college freshmen living in dorms, and teens age 15 to 19.

Click here for a meningococcal vaccines fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 1997 the CDC released a set of Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations to state health officials, which demonstrated the use of the vaccine to contain meningitis outbreaks.  This report also noted a need for increased surveillance of meningococcal disease and drew attention to the increased number of meningitis cases in the early 1990s.  From 1992 to 1993 there were a total of 8 identified outbreaks of meningococcal disease, and within the previous 11 years there had only been 13 outbreaks total. 

Legislative Action and Public Policy

Although a meningitis vaccine has been available since the 1970s, prior to the 1997 report there was minimal public knowledge of the disease and no legislative action. As of 2008, 37 states have one or more laws related to meningitis with the majority of these laws focusing on school requirements.  State laws address this issue by requiring the distribution of meningitis information, receipt of a vaccine or waiver, or adding the meningitis vaccine to the state's established requirements and exemptions. 

An ACIP report in 2000 identified college freshmen residing in dormitories, people with certain medical conditions, and certain laboratory personnel at an increased risk for contracting the disease.  ACIP recommended these populations receive the meningococcal disease vaccine.  After this initial recommendation many states have considered legislation to raise awareness of meningococcal disease or mandate the vaccination of college students. 

In 2005 ACIP expanded its recommendation to include young adolescents (at 11 to 12-year physician visit) and students entering high school.  As a result of the modified ACIP recommendations, state legislation has been introduced to require the distribution of meningitis information or impose vaccine mandates on these populations.   

Click here for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from May 27, 2005 about the prevention and control of meningococcal disease with recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Meningitis Legislation 2011-2012

 

State

 Bill(s), Summary, Location, Date of last action

 Colorado SJR 53 declares April 30, 2011 as “Colorado Meningitis Awareness Day.” Adopted 5/19/11.
 
 Kansas SR 1856 declares the week of April 16 to 20 as Kansas Meningitis Awareness Week. Adopted April, 30, 2012.
 

 Mississippi 

HB 1136 would require public community and junior colleges to prohibit a student who has not been vaccinated for meningitis from living in a dormitory. Died in House Universities and Colleges Committee, 2/1/11.

 New York

AB 608 would amend public health law to require a meningococcal vaccination for children entering seventh grade or of a comparable age. Assembly Health Committee, 1/4/12.

AB 3643 would exempt commuter colleges from the requirement to maintain student meningococcal meningitis vaccine records. Assembly Health Committee, 6/5/12.

AB 908 and SB 1201 would exempt non-resident students at community colleges from meningococcal meningitis vaccine requirements. AB 908 enacting clause stricken, 5/11/11; SB 1201 Senate Health Committee, 4/12/2011.

SB 5069 and AB8231 would require schools to provide information on meningococcal disease immunization to students and parents of students in seventh grade, and would require schools to maintain record of responses as to whether such students received immunizations. SB 5069 Senate Finance Committee, 5/30/12; AB 8231 Assembly Ways and Means Committee, 6/11/12.

Oklahoma

HB 1538 among other actions, the bill would require child care facilities to provide information, which will be supplied by the Department of Human Services, to parents regarding meningococcal disease and the availability of the vaccine. House Public Health Committee, 2/8/11.

Tennessee

HB1631 and SB 1468 would remove the requirement that proof be submitted to the local director of schools showing that home school children have received vaccinations and other health services required by present law for children of the state. The bills would also require the Department of Education to provide home schools with information regarding meningococcal disease including vaccination availability. Enacted, Chapter 499, 6/21/11. 

Texas

HB 1557 would amend statute to require all incoming college students to receive meningitis vaccinations before arriving to campus. Current statute only requires the vaccination for those students living in campus student housing.  House Higher Education Committee, 3/3/11.

HB 1816 and  SB 1107 would amend statute to require all incoming college students to receive meningitis vaccinations before arriving to campus. Current statute only requires the vaccination for those students living in campus student housing.  Would also require that the meningitis vaccination occurred within a five-year period before the student arrives at school. Enacted 5/27/11.

SR 816 recognizes April 24, 2011 as Texas Meningitis Awareness Day. Enrolled 4/20/11.

Washington

SB 5191 would amend statue to allow online access to meningococcal information to fulfill distribution of information requirements, unless a guardian requests information in written form. Died in Senate Rules Committee, 4/11/12.

Wyoming

SB 104 would require that the meningitis vaccination is included in the immunization standards and recommendations issued by the state health officer. Would also add the meningitis immunization to state vaccine program. Died in Senate, 2/2/11.

SB 54 would require mandatory meningitis vaccination for university and community college students. Died 2/20/12. 

 

 

Meningitis Legislation 2009-2010

 

State

 Bill(s), Summary, Location, Date of last action

 California

 SB 249 would authorize that the public awareness campaign designed to reach members of the population identified as being at high risk for contracting meningococcal disease, to include adolescents ages 11 to 18 and their parents. Enacted, 10/11/09.

 Colorado

 SJR 53 recognizes the importance of awareness about meningitis and availability of the vaccine.  The bill also encourages school districts to provide education about meningococcal disease and the vaccine to students and their parents or guardians. Adopted, 5/5/09.

 Florida

 HB  1173 among other actions, the bill exempts students in Florida virtual school receiving home education from immunization requirements, including meningitis immunizations.  Died in House PreK-12 Policy Committee, 4/30/10, did not pass by end of session 3/14/10. 

 Georgia

 HB 300 requires local school systems to provide information on meningococcal meningitis disease and its vaccine to parents and guardians of students in grades six through 12 whenever other health information is provided. Enacted, 5/5/09.

 Indiana  

 HB 1060 would require college students to receive the meningitis vaccination, allowing for medical and religious exemptions.  Also would repeal current information dissemination requirement by state colleges and universities.  House Public Health Committee, 1/29/09; did not pass by end of session 4/29/09.

 HB 1196 provides that a state educational institution may not permit a student to attend a residential campus of the state educational institution unless the student provides documentation of having been vaccinated for meningococcal meningitis or qualifies for an exemption. The law also repeals the requirement that a state educational institution provide detailed information about meningococcal meningitis to prospective students before they enroll.  House Public Health Committee, 1/7/10; did not pass by end of session 3/14/10.

 SB 219 in addition to other measures, the bill requires the state department of health to adopt rules with additional school vaccine requirements including the meningitis vaccine.  Enacted, 5/13/09.

 Louisiana

 HB 936 would exempt students in certain home study programs from providing documentation of vaccination of against meningococcal disease. House Education Committee, 3/29/10; did not pass by end of session 6/21/10.

 Maine

 SP 329 would require meningococcal vaccines for students who are 11 years of age or older, beginning with the 2010-2011 school year by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to amend the immunization rule.  Placed in Legislative Files (Dead), 4/9/09.

 Maryland

 SB 790 would require the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene to identify resources concerning the risks associated with meningococcal disease, the availability and effectiveness of the vaccine and the potential risks of a specified immunization.  Also, would require the Secretary to provide public access to specified information through the Internet. Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs, 3/27/09; Failed. 

 Minnesota

 HB 1758 and SB 1533 would require the commissioner of health to develop materials for preteens on diseases they may be vaccinated against including meningococcal disease.  The commissioner of education would be required to make these materials available to schools and the schools are encouraged to relay this information to parents.  HB 1758 House Committee on Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight, 3/18/09; SB 1533 Senate Committee on Health, Housing and Family Security, 3/16/09; both did not pass.

 Missouri

 HB 877 would require each school district to annually provide parents or guardians of students in grades six to twelve grade information concerning meningococcal disease and the availability of a vaccine. Would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop information about the disease as prescribed under the act and make such information available to each school district. House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, 5/15/09; did not pass by end of session 5/30/09.

 HB 2255 would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop information for distribution in school districts about meningococcal disease and the availability of a vaccine to prevent it. Each school district is to provide this information at the beginning of each school year to the parent or guardian and each student in sixth through twelfth grade. House Rules Committee, 5/4/10; did not pass by end of session 5/10/10.

 SB 432 would require each school district to annually provide parents or guardians of students in grades six to twelve grade information concerning meningococcal disease and the availability of a vaccine. Would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop information about the disease as prescribed under the act and make such information available to each school district. Senate Committee on Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families, 2/25/09; did not pass by end of session 5/30/09.

 New Jersey 

 SJR 65 and AJR 110 would designate August of each year as Meningitis awareness month. SJR 65 Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, 5/18/09; AJR 110 Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, 12/8/08; both did not pass by end of 2009 session.

 SB 2474 would require public schools to include instruction on meningococcal meningitis within the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, including its causes symptoms and means of transmission.  Senate Education Committee, 1/13/09; did not pass by end of 2009 session.

 New Mexico

 HM 20 requests the Department of Health to consider if meningococcal vaccine should be required for children age 11 and 12, as is recommended by ACIP. Adopted, 2/21/09.

 New York

 AB 6672 would exempt commuter colleges from the requirement to maintain student meningococcal vaccine records.  Assembly Health Committee, 4/28/10; did not pass by end of session 1/5/11.

 AB 10313 and SB 7156 would require seventh graders and students entering college to receive a vaccination against meningococcal disease. AB 10313 Assembly Rules Committee, 6/28/10; SB 7156, engrossed in Senate, Assembly Health Committee, 6/23/10; both did not pass by end of session 1/5/11.

 AB 10989 and SB 7799 would exempt commuter colleges from the requirement to maintain student meningococcal vaccine records. AB 10989 Assembly Health Committee, 5/6/10; SB 7799 Senate Health Committee, 5/12/10; both did not pass by end of session 1/5/11.

 Ohio

 SB 69 would require students of institutions of higher education to receive the meningitis vaccine, the law would allow for medical and religious exemptions.  This law would replace the current requirement for disclosure of a student's meningococcal immunization status.  Passed Senate, House Committee on Health, 5/13/09.

 Oregon

 SB 716 would require the department of human services to adopt rules to include the meningitis vaccine among those required for school attendance. Senate Human Services and Rural Health Policy, 4/22/09; did not pass by end of session 6/30/09.

 Tennessee

 HB 2513 and SB 2567 would require non-public schools to provide parents with information on meningococcal disease and its prevention at the beginning of every calendar year. The information is to include causes, symptoms, prevention and sources for more information for parents. HB 2513 House Education Committee, 3/10/10; SB 2567 Senate Education Committee, 3/8/10; did not pass by end of session 5/25/10.

 Texas

 SB 819 would require first time students at institutions of higher education who reside in an on-campus dormitory or student housing facility to receive the bacterial meningitis vaccine, allowing for medical and religious exemptions.  Passed Senate, House Committee on Higher Education, 5/22/09; did not pass by end of session 6/1/09.

 HB 3328 among other measures, the bill would require children be immunized against meningitis allowing for medical and religious exemptions.  House Committee on Public Health, 3/18/09; did not pass by end of session 6/1/09.

HB 4189 requires first time students at institutions of higher education who reside in an on-campus dormitory or student housing facility to receive the bacterial meningitis vaccine, allowing for medical and religious exemptions.  Enacted, 6/19/09.

 SR 712 recognizes April 25, 2009 as Texas Meningitis Awareness Day to raise awareness and honor World Meningitis Day on the same date.  Also, encourages public understanding of meningococcal disease and the vaccine.  Adopted, 4/24/09.

 Washington

 HB 2167 among other measures this would modify the current education requirement for secondary students, requiring only that parents have access to information on meningococcal disease.  Access would include online access, written information could be provided upon request.  Passed House, Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education, 3/15/10; did not pass by end of session 3/15/10. 

SB 5889 the original version of the bill, among other measures, would modify the current education requirement for secondary students, requiring only that parents have access to information on meningococcal disease. Access would include online access, written information could be provided upon request. The enacted substitute bill removed meningococcal disease information access modifications.  Enacted, 5/19/09.

 Wisconsin

 AB 210 would provide benefits and protections to tribal schools similar to those similar to private schools, among these are provisions related to meningococcal disease.  The bill would require the Department of Public Instruction to provide tribal schools with information about meningococcal disease and the vaccine.  Failed in Assembly Committee on Rules, 4/28/10.

 

Meningitis Legislation 2007-2008

 

 State

 Bill(s), Summary, Location, Date of last action

 Connecticut

 SB 463 would require the Department of Public Health and local education boards to develop meningococcal meningitis information to be given to parents or guardians of secondary students at the beginning of each school year. House Appropriations Committee, 3/12/08; did not pass by end of session 5/7/08. 

HB 5701 among other public health measures, this act requires the Department of Health and the Department of Education to provide local and regional boards of education with meningococcal meningitis information.  This information shall include causes, vaccination information, symptoms and spread of meningococcal disease.  Enacted 6/12/08; signed into law by governor as 2008 Conn. Acts, P.A. 184.

 Indiana  HB 1053 would repeal current statute for voluntary meningococcal meningitis vaccination.  It would require students at a residential campus of a state educational institution to receive the meningococcal meningitis vaccine unless they qualify for medical or religious exemptions. House Public Health Committee, 1/22/08; did not pass by end of session 3/14/08.
 Kansas  SB 529 originally called for local school districts to provide information on meningitis and the vaccine to parents or guardians of students in grades 6 to 12.  The bill has since been revised and broadened to require school districts to provide information on infectious diseases and their vaccines.  Passed Senate; did not pass House Health and Human Services Committee by end of session 5/29/08.
 Kentucky  HB 185 would require if the Department for Public Health provides meningitis immunizations for uninsured and underinsured children, then the meningitis vaccine would be required and the immunization certificate shall be revised to reflect this requirement. House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, 2/29/08; did not pass by end of session 4/15/08.
 Louisiana  HB 178 requires a parent, tutor or guardian of a student, as a condition of sixth grade entry, to provide evidence of immunization against meningococcal disease.  A parent, tutor or guardian may exempt a student with a signed waiver that immunization was not received due to religious or personal beliefs, a physician's statement, or a shortage of the vaccine's supply. Enacted, 6/21/08; signed into law by governor as 2008 La. Acts, P.A. 342.
 Minnesota

 HB 2387 and SB 2189 would require students in public or private postsecondary educational institutions to receive the meningitis vaccine.  If a student chooses not to be vaccinated, a statement must be signed (by parents or guardians for minors) verifying receipt of the information and a choice not to be vaccinated. HB 2387 House Higher Education and Work Force Development Policy and Finance Division, 3/29/07.  SB 2189 Senate Education Committee, 3/29/07; did not pass by end of 2007 session. 

HB 3446 and SB 3005 would require that information about meningococcal disease be provided to parents or guardians of students in grades 6 to 12 at the beginning of each school year at every public and private school in the state. HB 3446 House Health and Human Services Committee, 2/25/08.  SB 3005 Senate Finance Committee, 3/12/07; did not pass by end of 2007 session.  

HB 4133 and SB 3804 would require the Commissioner of Health to provide information about meningococcal disease to every public and private school in the state, which enrolls students in grades 6 to 12. HB 4133 House Health and Human Services Committee, 3/27/08.  SB 3804 Health, Housing, and Family Security Committee, 3/27/08; did not pass by end of session 5/18/08.

 Nevada  AB 242 would require students residing in student housing at a state university, college, or community college to receive the meningococcal disease vaccine.  Medical and religious exemptions may be granted. Assembly Education Committee, 4/4/07; did not pass by end of 2007 session.
 New Jersey

 AB 4103 would require instruction on meningococcal meningitis be included in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education curriculum.  The Department of Education shall develop this curriculum.  Assembly Education Committee, 3/12/07; did not pass by end of 2007 session.  

SJR 72 would designate August of each year as "Meningitis Awareness Month".  Passed Senate, Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, 6/18/07; did not pass by end of 2007 session. 

 New York

 AB 5926 would exempt commuter colleges from the requirement to maintain meningococcal meningitis records.  Assembly Health Committee, 5/20/08; did not pass by end of 2008 session.  

AB 10942 would require 7th graders and all college students to receive the meningococcal disease immunization as a prerequisite for enrollment.  Allows only state mandated exemptions.  The bill repeals Public Health Law §2167 that gives the option of a waiver to college freshmen.  Assembly Health Committee, 6/20/08; did not pass by end of 2008 session. 

SB 7822 would add meningococcal disease vaccine to school requirements for students in the seventh grade and higher.  Medical and religious exemptions may apply, as with other vaccines.  Senate Rules Committee, 6/16/08; did not pass by end of 2008 session. 

SB 8623 would add meningococcal disease vaccine to school requirements for students in the seventh grade and higher.  Medical and religious exemptions may apply, as with other vaccines.  Senate Rules Committee, 6/19/08; did not pass by end of 2008 session.

 Ohio  SB 311 would require students either to be vaccinated against meningitis or students (parents or guardians for minors) must sign a waiver that they have received the information and declined the vaccination. Currently students in Ohio's institutions of higher education are only required to disclose whether or not they have been vaccinated against meningitis.  Senate Health, Human Services, and Aging Committee, 3/27/08; did not pass by end of 2008 session.
 Oklahoma  HCR 1027 declares May 9, 2007 as "Meningitis Awareness Day".  Passed, 5/15/07. HCR 1076 declares April 29, 2008 as "Meningitis Awareness Day".  Passed, 4/30/08.

 

Meningitis State Laws

Thirty-nine states have one or more laws related to meningitis with the majority of these laws focusing on school requirements.  State laws address this issue by requiring the distribution of meningitis information, receipt of a vaccine or waiver, or adding the meningitis vaccine to the state's established requirements and exemptions.  The two target groups captured in these laws are college students (usually first year students residing on campus) and young adolescents (usually 6th graders).

A C D F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W

 

 State  Statute
 Alabama  
 Alaska Alaska Stat. § 14.48.165 (2005) requires that postsecondary educational institutions provide information on meningococcal disease to students who intend to reside in campus housing prior to their residence.  This information must include consequences of the disease, increased risk to students in campus housing, and the vaccine's ability to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.  Each student residing in campus housing must either get the vaccination or sign a waiver verifying they have been notified of the meningococcal disease information.  The statute also stipulates that the college or university is not required to pay for or supply the vaccination. (HB 185)
 Arizona Arizona established a requirement for the meningococcal vaccine for secondary students through adminstrative rules, allowing for medical, religious and philosophical exemptions (2008).
 Arkansas Ark. Stat. Ann. § 6-61-123 (1999) requires colleges and universities to advise students and their parents or guardians of the increased risk of the potentially fatal meningococcal disease for students in dormitories.  They are also to advise students and their parents or guardians that a vaccination is available that may reduce the risk of contracting meningococcal disease. (HB 2136)
 California Cal. Health and Safety Code § 120395 et seq. (2001, 2009) requires each degree granting public or private post secondary educational institution to provide incoming freshman with information on meningococcal disease.  These students are to return a form to the institute indicating whether they have received the vaccine.  The educational meningococcal disease information is to be developed by the Department of Health Services by April 2002.  The educational institution is responsible for keeping vaccination information confidential.  Amended in 2009 to require the Department of Public Health to develop information about meningococcal disease for children aged eleven to eighteen years and include it in any health educational materials sent home to parents of children at least eleven years of age. (AB 1452, SB 249)
 Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. § 23-5-128 (2004) requires new college or university students (parents or guardians for minors) intending to reside in student housing are given information about meningococcal disease from the institution.  The institution also must provide students with information on where they may receive the vaccine. These students must verify they have received the vaccine or sign waiver stating they received the meningococcal disease information.  The statute also allows schools to impose additional requirements and stipulates that schools are not required to finance the vaccination. (SB 57)
 Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 185b-10a-155b (2001) provides that colleges and universities require meningitis vaccines for all students in on-campus housing.  The law allows for both medical and religious exemptions.  Colleges and universities are also required to provide information on meningitis to all prospective students and develop a program for keeping vaccination status records.

2008 Conn. Acts, P.A. 184 among other public health measures, this act requires the Department of Health and the Department of Education to provide local and regional boards of education with meningococcal meningitis information.  This information shall include causes, vaccination information, symptoms and spread of meningococcal disease. (HB 5701)

 Delaware Del. Code Ann. Tit. 16 § 509 (2001) requires four-year institutions of higher education to distribute information about meningitis to incoming students.  Students must either receive the vaccination or provide the student health office with a written notification that they have chosen not to be vaccinated.  The institution is responsible for recording and maintaining records.
 District of  Columbia The District of Columbia established requirements for the meningococcal vaccine through administrative rules (Rule: 22-B153).  Secondary students are required to receive the vaccine, allowing for medical and religious exemptions, and post-secondary students must receive the vaccine or sign a waiver (2008).
 Florida Fla. Stat. §1006.69 (2002) requires post-secondary educational institutions to provide every accepted student (parent or guardian for minors) with detailed information on meningococcal meningitis.  Students must receive the vaccination or sign a waiver verifying the receipt and review of the information.  The statute stipulates that the institution is not responsible for payment or availability of the vaccination. (HB 871)
 Georgia

Ga. Code. § 31-12-3.2 (2003) requires that post-secondary educational institutions provide information on meningococcal disease to students who intend to reside in campus housing prior to their residence.  This information must include consequences of the disease, increased risk to students in campus housing, and the vaccine's ability to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.  Each student residing in campus housing must either get the vaccination or sign a waiver.  The statute also stipulates that the college or university is not required to pay for or supply the vaccination. (HB 521)

Ga. Code. § 20-2-778 (2009) requires local school systems to provide information on meningococcal meningitis disease and its vaccine to parents and guardians of students in grades six through 12 whenever other health information is provided. (HB 300

 Guam  
 Hawaii  
 Idaho  
 Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 110 § 305/21, 520/11, 660/5-115, 665/10-115, 670/15-115, 675/20-120, 680/25-115, 685/30-125, 690/35-120 (2001) require universities and colleges to inform new students about meningitis and its transmission.  Pending availability, university and college health service facilities should offer the vaccine.  These universities and colleges are not required to pay for the vaccination. (SB 168)

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 20 § 2310/2310-391 (2006) provides that the Department of Public Health shall develop educational materials about meningitis for elementary and secondary schools. (SB 2728)

 Indiana

Ind. Code § 20-30-5-18 (2005) provides that the chief administrative officers of public and non-public schools shall ensure information about meningococcal disease and vaccine are provided to students and parents or guardians at the beginning of each school year. (SB 326) 

Ind. Code § 20-34-4-2 (2009) requires children in the state to be immunized against certain diseases, in 2009 meningococcal vaccination for school age children was added to this list. (SB 219)

Ind. Code § 21-40-5-5 requires state universities to provide students with information on the risks related to meningococcal disease.  

 Iowa Iowa Code § 139A.26 (2004) requires institutions of higher education with on-campus housing to provide meningococcal disease vaccine information to all enrolled students.  Students are to indicate on a form whether or not they have received the vaccine.  This information is for data collection purposes only and should be reported annually to the health department. (SF 2202)
 Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 76-761a (2006) requires each college or university to establish policies and procedures that require incoming students in student housing facilities to receive the meningitis vaccine.  Waiver procedures should be included in these policies.  The law stipulates that a university or college is not required to provide or pay for the vaccine. (HB 2752)
 Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat § 164 (2004) requires educational institutions with residential campuses to provide information on meningococcal disease to full-time students living in student housing.  These students are required to indicate if they have received the meningococcal disease vaccine.  Institutions are required to keep this information confidential, but they are not responsible for paying for the vaccine. (HB 342)

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 158.297 (2006) requires information on meningococcal disease to be provided to parents or guardians of students in grades 6 thru 12 with other health information provided at the beginning of the school year. (HB 475)

 Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:170.1 (2006) provides that receipt of the meningococcal vaccine is a condition of initial registration in a postsecondary educational institution. Postsecondary institutions must provide students (parents or guardians for minors) with meningococcal disease information.  A waiver may be signed stating that information has been reviewed and the individual is declining the vaccine for medical, religious, or personal reasons.  Institutions are not required to provide or pay for vaccines. (HB 154)

2008 La. Acts, P.A. 342 requires a parent, tutor or guardian of a student, as a condition of sixth grade entry, to provide evidence of immunization against meningococcal disease.  A parent, tutor or guardian may exempt a student with a signed waiver that immunization was not received due to religious or personal beliefs, a physician's statement, or a shortage of the vaccine's supply. (HB 178)

 Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 20-A § 10008 (2003) requires each postsecondary educational institution with a residential campus to provide information on meningococcal disease to all incoming students.  Institutions are not responsible for providing the vaccine.

 Maryland

Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 18-102 (2000) requires residents of on-campus housing of institutions of higher education to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease.  The institution is responsible for providing students (parents or guardians for minors) with information on meningococcal disease and vaccination.  To excuse a student from vaccination, a waiver may be signed.  The institution is not required to provide or pay for vaccination. (HB 227)

 Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 76 § 15d (2004) provides that full-time students at colleges or universities intending to live in dormitories may not be registered for school if they have not received the meningococcal vaccination.  Students (parents or guardians for minors) may sign a waiver stating they have received information about the vaccine.  The state also allows for medical exemptions with a written doctor's note.  The college or university is not required to provide or pay for the vaccine.

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 11 § 219 requires meningococcal disease and vaccination information to be distributed to the parents or guardians of children in a secondary school, college, university, day care center, or youth camp. The Commissioner of Health is required to adopt specific regulations around this procedure.

 Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.9205a (2001) requires the Health Department to notify each institution of higher education and high school of materials they have available about meningococcal disease and vaccine.  The department should encourage each institution of higher education and high school to make meningococcal disease and vaccine information available to parents and students. (HB 4562)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1177a (2005) requires information on meningococcal disease and vaccination to be provided to parents or guardians of students in grades 6, 9 and 12 along with other health information. (HB 4726)

 Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 135A.14 requires postsecondary institutions to provide information for incoming students residing in on-campus housing on meningococcal disease and vaccination.

 Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 41-23-45 (2003) requires the State Department of Health to prepare written educational information on meningitis risks and vaccination for public universities and colleges. This information is to be sent to students with acceptance or admissions packets.

Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-61 (2006) local school boards must ensure that all public schools and agricultural high schools provide parents and guardians with information about meningococcal disease and the effectiveness of vaccination against meningococcal disease.  The Department of Health may provide this information on its website. (SB 2700)

 Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 174.335 (2003) requires every public institution of higher education to provide students in on-campus housing with information on meningococcal disease and vaccine.  If they have not been immunized, students (parents or guardians for minors) must sign a waiver that they have received the information.  These institutions are to maintain records of vaccinations and waivers, but they are not required to pay for or provide vaccines. (SB 686)

 Montana

 

 Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 85-902 (2003) requires newly enrolled students at postsecondary educational institutions intending to reside in on-campus housing and their parents or guardians to be provided with information on meningococcal disease, the vaccination, the fact that the vaccination is recommended, and information on cost assistance for qualified individuals.

 Nevada

 

 New Hampshire

 

 New Jersey

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:61D-15.1, 15.2 (2004) requires students residing in campus dormitories at institutions of higher education to receive the meningitis vaccine.  The vaccine should be offered through the student health service program or an agreement with county health providers.  The law allows for medical and religious exemptions. (AB 1546)

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:2X-3 and 18A:40-21.2 (2006) requires the Commissioner of Education to distribute fact sheets about meningococcal meningitis to parents or guardians of students in grades 6 thru 12 once a year in public schools.  The Commissioner is also to make this information available to private schools.  The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and the Commissioner of Education are to develop this fact sheet. (SB 1461)

N.J. Admin. Code § 8:57-4.20 (2007) requires children upon sixth grade entry, at a comparable age level in the special education program or students transferring to a New Jersey school to receive the meningitis vaccine. (Department of Health and Human Services press release)

 New Mexico

 

 New York

N.Y. Public Health Law § 2167 requires secondary schools, colleges, and certain camps, which have housing for students, to provide information on meningitis, transmission and immunization against the disease.  Students (parents or guardians for minors) must sign a form to verify student's receipt of the vaccine or their decision to decline vaccination after reviewing the information provided. (HB 501)

 North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-47, 115C-548, 115C-556, 115C-565 (2003) require both public and private schools to annually provide parents or guardians with information on meningococcal disease. (SB 444)

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 116-260 (2003) requires postsecondary educational institutions with residential campuses are to provide meningococcal disease and vaccine information with student health forms.  The form should provide space for a student to indicate if he or she has received the meningococcal disease vaccine.  The institution shall confidentially maintain these records. (HB 825)

 North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code 23-07-17.1 the meningococcal disease vaccine is on the list of age appropriate vaccine requirements for elementary and secondary school students.  The law allows for medical and religious exemptions.

 Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1713.55, 3332.25 and 3345.85 (2004) require students living in on-campus housing at an institute of higher education to disclose their meningococcal meningitis vaccination status.  The law stipulates that the institution is not required to pay for or supply the vaccine. (HB 142)

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3701.133 (2004) requires information about the risks associated with meningococcal meningitis and information on the vaccine is available on the Department of Health website for school districts and higher education institutions.  On the website a form must be available for students (parents or guardians for minors) to declare they have read and received the information and indicate whether or not the student has received the vaccine. (HB 142)

 Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. tit. 70 § 1210.195 (2006) requires the State Departments of Health and Education to make information on meningococcal meningitis available to school districts.  At the beginning of each school year, this information is to be distributed by schools to the parents or guardians of the students. (SB 1467)

Okla. Stat. tit. 70 § 3243 requires postsecondary educational institutions to provide students in on-campus housing with information on meningococcal disease and the vaccine.  Students must receive the vaccine or students (parents or guardians for minors) must sign a waiver that they have received the information and decided not to be immunized.  These institutions are not required to pay for or provide vaccines.

 Oregon

 

 Pennsylvania

Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 35 § 633.3 (2002)  provides that a student at an institute of higher education may not reside in a dormitory or campus housing unit unless the vaccination against meningococcal disease has been received, or a student (parent or guardian for minors) may sign a written waiver verifying they have chosen not to receive the meningococcal disease vaccination for religious or other reasons.  The institute of higher education is not required to pay for the vaccination, but institutions are required to disseminate the information to affected students. (SB 955)

Pennsylvania established a requirement for the meningococcal vaccine for seventh grade entry through administrative code, allowing for medical, religious and philosophical exemptions.

 Puerto Rico

 

 Rhode Island*

R.I. Gen Laws § 16-38-2 (1998) requires the meningococcal vaccine to be included in the Department of Health immunization program.  Children over 24 months are eligible for the meningococcal disease immunization.

R.I. R23-1-IMM/COL, 3.3.5 requires college health services to provide information about meningococcal disease and the vaccine to incoming students.  Also, recommends that incoming college or university students residing in dormitories receive the vaccine.

 South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 59-101-290 (2002) requires public institutions of higher learning to notify incoming students in on-campus housing (parents or guardians for minors) of the risks of meningococcal disease.  Public institutions of higher learning are to include recommendation for meningococcal vaccine in medical information given to students, prospective students, and parents or guardians. (HB 5133)

 South Dakota

 

 Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-7-124 (2003) requires incoming students of any institution of higher learning who live in on-campus housing to complete a form indicating that the institution has provided meningococcal disease information and whether or not the student has been vaccinated.  This form is to be signed by the student (parent or guardian for minors). Schools are not required to provide or pay for the vaccination.  (SB 185)

Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-5005 (2005) Elementary and secondary schools are required to provide parents and guardians with information about meningococcal disease and the effectiveness of the vaccination at the beginning of every school year.

 Texas 

Tex. Education Code Ann. § 51.9191 (2001) requires each institution of higher education to provide information to new students about bacterial meningitis.  This is to be organized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  Students are required to sign a confirmation that they have received the information. (SB 31)

Tex. Education Code Ann. § 51.9192 (2009) requires first time students at institutions of higher education who reside in an on-campus dormitory or student housing facility to receive the bacterial meningitis vaccine, allowing for medical and religious exemptions. (HB 4189)

Tex. Education Code Ann. § 38.0025 requires information to be provided about bacterial meningitis to students and parents each school year.

 Utah

 

 Vermont*

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18 § 1123 gives jurisdiction to the health department in consultation with the education department to establish immunization requirements.

Vt. Dept. of Health Immunization Regulations, V(2), V(3) requires students entering seventh grade attending residential-based schools to receive the meningococcal vaccine.  Also, requires first year post-secondary students living in dormitories to receive the meningococcal vaccine.  Allows for medical, religious or philosophical exemptions.

 Virgin Islands

 

 Virginia

Va. Code § 23-7.5 (2001) requires all incoming full-time students, prior to enrollment in a public institution of higher education, to receive the meningococcal disease vaccination.  Alternatively, a waiver may be signed by a student (parent or guardian for minors) stating they have received information from the institution about meningococcal disease and the vaccine but have decided not to be vaccinated. (HB 2762)

 Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.210.080 (2005) requires public and private schools to provide parents or guardians with information on meningococcal disease and vaccine beginning with sixth grade entry. (HB 1463)

Wash. Rev. Code § 70.54.370 (2003) establishes parameters for the meningococcal disease information to be distributed.  Both public and private universities with residential campuses are to provide meningococcal disease and the vaccine information to first time students.  In addition, the law only requires community and technical colleges to disseminate this information to students who are offered on-campus or group housing.  

 West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 18b-1b-4(a)(37) provides that the higher education policy commission shall implement awareness initiatives that educate students and parents or guardians about meningococcal meningitis.  This commission is also to encourage institutions that already provide medical care to students to provide access to the vaccine as well.

 Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 36.25 (46), 252.09 (2003) requires the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin system to annually provide students (parents or guardians for minors) with information on meningococcal disease and vaccination.  Students in dormitories or residence halls (parents or guardians for minors) are to confirm the receipt of meningitis information, whether or not the vaccine was received, and the date of vaccination, if applicable.  Each private university and its students in the state are upheld to the same requirements as the University of Wisconsin system. (AB 344)

 Wyoming  

 

 

*In Arizona, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont some meningitis vaccine requirements were established through regulation not state statutes.

Source:  Lexis Nexis, StateNet, National Conference of State Legislatures, 2011.
NOTE: List may not be comprehensive, but is representative of state laws that exist. NCSL appreciates additions and corrections.

Meningitis Laws at a Glance

The chart below contains information about meningitis vaccination laws.  Eleven states have no meningococcal disease related laws.  Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have one or more laws related to meningococcal meningitis.  Four states—Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas and Vermont—require certain post-secondary students (e.g. those living in dorms) to receive the vaccine allowing only for state established immunization exemptions.  Fifteen states—Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—and the District of Columbia require this same population of students to receive the vaccine or sign a waiver.  Twenty-six states—Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin—require colleges and universities to distribute meningitis information to students, with some states requiring a report of the student’s immunization status. 

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia extend meningitis laws to secondary students.  Two states, Louisiana and New York, require secondary students to receive the meningococcal vaccine or sign a waiver. Four states—Arizona, Indiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania—and the District of Columbia, require secondary school children to receive the vaccine allowing for exemptions. Fourteen states—Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Washington—require middle and high schools to distribute information on meningitis to their students, with some states requiring a report of the student’s immunization status.

 

 

 State

 No Requirements

 Requires Vaccine or Waiver

 Requires Vaccine and Only Allows Exemptions

 Requires Distribution of Meningitis Information

 Alabama

X

 

 

 

 Alaska

 

X

 

X     

 Arizona

 

 

X (Medical/Religious/Philosophical)

 

 Arkansas

 

 

 

X

 California

 

X

 

 

 Colorado

 

X

 

 

 Connecticut

 

 

X (Medical/Religious)

X

 Delaware

 

X

 

 

 District of Columbia

 

X (Medical/Religious)

 

 Florida

 

X

 

X

 Georgia

 

X

 

X

 Hawaii

X

 

 

 

 Idaho

X

 

 

 

 Illinois

 

 

 

X

 Indiana

 

 

X (Medical/Religious)

X

 Iowa

 

 

 

X*

 Kansas

 

X

 

 

 Kentucky

 

 

 

X*

 Louisiana

 

X

 

 

 Maine

 

 

 

X

 Maryland

 

X

 

X

 Massachusetts

 

X

 

X

 Michigan

 

 

 

X

 Minnesota

 

 

 

X

 Mississippi

 

 

 

X

 Missouri

 

X

 

 

 Montana

 X

 

 

 

 Nebraska

 

 

 

X

 Nevada

 X

 

 

 

 New Hampshire

 X

 

 

 

 New Jersey

 

 

X (Medical/Religious)

X

 New Mexico

 X

 

 

 

 New York

 

 

 

X*

 North Carolina

 

 

 

X*

 North Dakota

 

 

X (Medical/Religious/Philosophical)

 

 Ohio

 

 

 

X*

 Oklahoma

 

X

 

X

 Oregon

X

 

 

 

 Pennsylvania

 

X

X (Medical/Religious/Philosophical)

 

 Rhode Island

 

 

 

X

 South Carolina

 

 

 

X

 South Dakota

X

 

 

 

 Tennessee

 

 

 

X*

 Texas

 

 

X (Medical/Religious)

X

 Utah

X

 

 

 

 Vermont

 

 

X (Medical/Religious/Philosophical)

 

 Virginia

 

 X

 

 

 Washington

 

 

 

X

 West Virginia

 

 

 

X

 Wisconsin

 

 

 

X*

 Wyoming

X

 

 

 

 

Source: Lexis Nexis, StateNet, National Conference of State Legislatures, 2011.

* Denotes a required report of the student’s immunization status.
NOTE: In Arizona, The District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont some meningitis vaccine requirements were established through regulation not state statutes.

This list may not be comprehensive, but is representative of state laws that exist. NCSL appreciates additions and corrections.

Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics
American Academy of Pediatrics information on meningococcal vaccine.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention frequently asked questions about meningococcal disease.

Immunization Action Coalition 
Immunization Action Coalition recommendations and resources about the meningococcal disease and vaccine.

Meningitis Foundation of America
Meningitis Foundation of America provides resources and information on meningitis.

National Meningitis Association
National Meningitis Association shows state-by-state legislation and action performed to promote meningitis awareness.

NOTE: NCSL provides links to other websites for information purposes only. Providing these links does not necessarily indicate NCSL's support or endorsement of the site.

 

 

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