Meningitis FAQ

Why do I need the vaccine?

Because you may participate in the following behaviors and others not listed that put you at a significantly greater risk than other college students of getting this contagious disease:

  • Live in group housing, (residence halls)
  • Share drinking glasses, eating utensils, or food
  • Share makeup
  • Kiss a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Share water bottles
  • Going to bars
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoke or inhale secondhand smoke
  • Irregular sleep or eating habits

What are the side effects from the vaccine?

The vaccine is well tolerated. Common side effects from MENVEO® include pain and redness at the injection site, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, and fainting. In infants under 2 years old, persistent crying, sleepiness, and diarrhea were also observed. Sometimes fainting is accompanied by falling with injury. Other side effects can also occur.

What is the duration of Protection?

The duration of the meningococcal vaccine’s efficacy following immunization is approximately three to five years. It is routinely recommended for all children at age 11-12 years; then give a booster at age 16 years. Adolescents who receive the first dose at age 13-15 years, should receive a one-time booster dose, preferably at age 16 through 18 years.

Can I get the vaccination at Watkins Health Services at any time during the school year?

Yes. Watkins Health Services is open year-round, except for special times of operation when classes are not in session and during posted holidays. Please visit our home page for our Daily Hours. To make an appointment, visit our Appointments webpage or call 785-864-9507. To speak to someone in our Immunizations Unit, please call 785-864-9533.

Does the vaccine protect against all types of meningitis?

Up to 83% of meningococcal disease in college students is caused by strains of bacteria, or Neisseria Meningitis that are potentially vaccine-preventable. That is why the CDC, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), American College Health Association (ACHA), and many schools require or recommend meningococcal vaccination for their students. Because it does not cover all strains of Neisseria Meningitis, it is important to know the warning signs and see a physician if they occur. Most but not all are strains are prevented by currently available vaccines.

Have there been any other cases since April 2004?

Not here at KU. In a effort to decrease the risk of students experiencing Meningococcal disease, the University of Kansas has instituted a Meningococcal vaccine policy on August 1, 2005.

Can I just walk into Watkins Health Services to get the vaccination, or do I need an appointment?

Students are strongly encouraged to make appointments to be seen by a Watkins Health Services medical provider. Same day and walk-in appointments are often available, but not guaranteed.

Advantages of making an appointment include:

  • Reducing your wait time.
  • Scheduling a visit at a time that is convenient for you.

I heard there are several types of vaccine. What is the difference?

  • Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4--Menomune®) has been available since the 1970s.  It is now recommended for children 2-10 years and adults over 55, who are at risk.
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4-Manactra®) was licensed in 2005.
  • Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4-Menveo®) was licensed in 2010.
  • Menveo® is the preferred vaccine for people 11-55 years old. This is the vaccine currently available at Watkins Health Services at the University of Kansas.

Why is Menveo® now available instead of Menactra® or Menomune®?

Menveo® is recommended for people 11-55 years of age. It is expected to give better, longer-lasting protection. It should also be better at preventing the disease from spreading from person to person. 

How can I pay for this?

Please refer to our Business Office page for information on payment options.

For more information on Meningitis:


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