Meningitis Vaccine Information for College Students

Incoming college students nationwide are being told to take the
meningococcal vaccine or else they may not be admitted. But here is what schools and government are not telling parents and students. Less than 1 in 100,000 contract the meningococcal meningitis disease annually in the United States and 50% of those cases are in infants. Of those who do contract the disease, most recover fully and fatalities are in less than 10% of the case.

The disease is not easily transmitted. The primary method of transmission is by mixing saliva, as in kissing the mouth of an infected person. Even then, most people have already been exposed, and are thereby immune, to the disease. Only 5-15 college students nationwide die from this disease and contributing factors, which is far less than other risks faced by college students.

In September 2005, the FDA announced that five (5) recipients of this vaccine reported serious symptoms of Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) soon after receiving the vaccine, a condition having similarities with Multiple Sclerosis. They were ages 17 and 18, typical for the incoming college freshmen being urged to have this vaccine.

Other reports of adverse reactions after the vaccine are highly disturbing. 41% the recipients report having a headache subsequent to receiving this vaccine. 35% report fatigue after the vaccine; 24% report malaise; and 20% report aches and pains in their joints after receiving the vaccine. One can only wonder what the long-term harm is from the vaccine. The vaccine manufacturer does not report in its package insert any study of long-term harm beyond six months. View the package insert yourself at:
It is easy to test a vaccine in animals to see if it causes cancer or infertility, but the vaccine maker failed to do that. Its package insert expressly states that the “vaccine has not been evaluated in animals for its carcinogenic or mutagenic potentials or for impairment of fertility.”

When long-term harm from the vaccine is combined with the short-term harm indicated above, it is quite possible that the vaccine is causing more harm than it is preventing. For a disease that can be largely avoided by not mixing saliva with an infected person, or receiving prompt treatment if one is infected, the insistence on vaccination rather than education is unfortunate.

And what benefits are truly provided by the vaccine? The meningococcal vaccine does not even claim to protect against at least one-third of the strains of the meningococcal disease, according to the above package insert. Of the remaining strains, the vaccine provides no guarantee of immunity either.

Vaccination information is often more objective from state agencies than from the federal government, because vaccine manufacturers can influence the federal government and distort federal policy more easily than dealing with 50 different states. This information from the Illinois Department of Health is useful, and supports several of the above facts:

Parents and students may not realize that all states have available
exemptions to decline this and other vaccines. Know your rights, and
exercise them.

Andy Schlafly
General Counsel
Association of American Physicians & Surgeons