Meningitis FAQ

What is the Meningitis B vaccine?

This vaccine is not required by KU. It protects against a less common strain of meningococcal disease. Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine to patients with certain conditions (damaged/removed spleens, rare genetic disorders) or patients taking certain medications (Solaris). It is also recommended when patients are identified as part of a population at increased risk of exposure due to an active serogroup B meningococcal outbreak.

May I receive the Meningitis B vaccine, even if I do not meet those criteria?

Yes, many healthcare providers, including Watkins Health Services, offer this vaccine. If you are interested in receiving this vaccine, you may contact our Business Office to determine the cost of the vaccine. You should also contact your insurance provider to determine if it will be covered.

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 during posted holidays. Please visit our homepage for our Daily Hours. To make an appointment, visit our Appointments page or call 785-864-9507

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.

What are the vaccines that protect against meningitis A, C, Y and W-135? 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-Menactra®) 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:

Each KU student has a secure PATIENT PORTAL for communicating with us:

Login to myWHS 
  • Make Appointments
  • Request Rx Refills
  • View Balances
  • Check Messages
  • View Lab Results
  • and more!

Summer Hours

Mon, July 4: CLOSED
Mon-Fri: 8:00 am-4:30 pm
Sat & Sun: Closed

After Hours Care

24-hour Nurse Helpline:

For immediate emergency help after normal business hours, call 911. LMH Health is located at 325 Maine Street.