Vaccinate Before You Graduate
Vaccinate Before You Graduate is a national campaign that focuses on providing vaccination information to middle and high school students and their parents. Vaccinating teens while they are still in school can get them caught up on their shots before getting a job, going to college or traveling abroad. These vaccinations can protect teens against many diseases that can cause serious health problems.
Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness, especially for adolescents and young adults. It is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. The bacteria can cause meningitis, an infection covering the brain and spinal cord. It can also infect the blood stream, a condition called meningococcemia. Infection can cause brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and even death.
State law requires that students who will be under age 22 on their first day of class at a public, private or independent institution of higher education in Texas provide proof of immunization for bacterial meningitis. The vaccination or booster dose must have been received within five years prior to enrollment and at least ten days before the semester begins (this includes students living off-campus). This timing will protect students through the college years, when students are at increased risk for exposure.
In addition, the following "booster" vaccinations are recommended for teens:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Tetanus, Diphtheria, & Pertussis (Tdap)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
- Hepatitis A
The Caring for Children Foundation of Texas' Care Van® Program help teens who are uninsured or on Medicaid receive the meningococcal vaccine through its annual participation in the Vaccinate Before You Graduate campaign. Working in collaboration with various school districts, the Care Van Program is able to administer the vaccine at no charge to teens prior to graduation (based on eligibility). Providing access to the meningococcal vaccine for college-bound teens is one way the Care Van Program is helping to build a healthier future for Texas!