N.J. mandates meningitis vaccinations for all college students

TRENTON, N.J. – All New Jersey college students are now required to receive the meningitis vaccination under a bill signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy earlier this week.

“This extremely contagious illness can easily spread among young people who are living in dormitories and sharing spaces in college,” said Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-21), a nurse and the bill’s sponsor. “Because there are different strains, it’s important students receive the appropriate shots before enrolling in school. This measure will help prevent outbreaks in the state.”

The bill was signed on the same day that an effort to curtail religious vaccine exemptions for public schools died in the legislature.

Princeton weathered cases of bacterial meningitis in both 2013 and 2014; Rutgers had its own in 2016. About 500 students nation-wide were affected annually between 2003 and 2007.

“The CDC is the lead agency for tracking communicable diseases and issuing recommendations. It makes sense to follow its guidelines to better protect students and others,” said Munoz. “Students are especially vulnerable to meningitis, which can be spread by kissing, sharing eating utensils or water bottles, or coughing or sneezing in close proximity to others.

New Jersey joins 37 other U.S. States mandating the meningococcal conjugate vaccine.