When you invite college age students to do shots, you’re likely to get their attention. Iowa Health Department officials are making that suggestion, but of course they mean vaccinations not alcohol. State Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk says probably the most important immunization to get is the one that protects against meningitis which can cause death. She says, “It’s an amazingly fast moving bacterial infection and unfortunately targets young adults.” She says she witnessed a case in which a seemingly healthy person died within a few hours. She says those who survive meningitis often have long lasting problems.
Quinlisk tells parents the immunizations are especially important for students traveling overseas. She says, “if your college student is going abroad as part of their education, don’t forget that a lot of times there are additional vaccines that they need, some are even required before they go into some of these other countries .”
Quinlisk says examples of vaccine-preventable illnesses on college campuses include: bacterial meningitis, measles, mumps and chickenpox. She says a flu shot won’t prevent it, but will likely lessen the severity of the illness. A tetanus booster is also a good idea.