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Vaccinate Before You Graduate

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Vaccinate Before You Graduate is a national campaign that provides vaccination information to middle and high school students and their parents. When teens get shots while they are still in school, it can help keep them up-to-date before getting a job, going to college or traveling abroad. Shots can protect them against many diseases that can cause serious health problems.

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that mainly affects adolescents and young adults. It’s caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. It can cause meningitis, an infection of the brain and spinal cord and can cause infections of the bloodstream (meningococcemia). These infections can lead to brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and even death.

Texas law requires proof of immunization for bacterial meningitis for students who will be under the age of 22 on their first day of class at a public, private or independent institution of higher education. The shot or booster dose must have been received within five years before enrollment and at least 10 days before the semester starts (this includes students living off campus). This timing can help protect students throughout their college years, when they have a greater chance of getting the disease.

These “booster” shots are also 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 that don’t have health insurance or are enrolled in Medicaid receive the meningococcal vaccine through its yearly participation in the Vaccinate Before You Graduate campaign. The Care Van Program works with various school districts to give free vaccines to teens before graduation (based on age/eligibility). Providing access to the meningococcal vaccine and other immunizations for thousands of teens each year is one way the Care Van Program helps build a healthier future for Texas.

For more information about immunizations or school requirements in Texas, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website third-party link icon.

Source: 2017 Texas Department of State Health Services

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The foundation is sponsored statewide by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas covering all administrative costs for the organization.