Immunization requirements may change for Indiana college students

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — This week, the Indiana House of Representatives voted in favor of fighting meningitis.

Republican State Rep. Sally Siegrist helped write a bill that would require Indiana college students to get immunized for meningitis. Outbreaks can occur when people live close together in places like residence halls.

“When there is an outbreak, there’s a 10 to 15 percent mortality rate, as well as a very high rate of morbidity, including brain damage and permanent brain damage and other really serious side effects,” Siegrist said.

Freshman Abbey Finn got her meningitis immunization before coming to Purdue University.

“It does scare me. I actually know a girl who passed away from it over a year ago,” Finn said.

Finn decided it was important to get immunized. She lives in the dorms and says it’s easy to come in contact with all types of germs.

“The goal is to stay healthy and do what we need to do here and move on,” she said.

Indiana follows the Centers for Disease Control protocol by requiring high school students to receive the meningitis immunization. Not every state or country follows the same guideline, meaning students coming from outside Indiana may not have received it.

“One of the appropriate things for state government to do is to provide protection for the citizens,” Siegrist said.

Siegrist wants to help protect students in public and private universities across the Hoosier state — students like Purdue sophomore Tucker Trapp.

“It makes me feel a little bit safer,” Trapp said. “If everyone’s immunized, there’s less chance for us to get it.”

Siegrist said taking this precautionary measure helps ensure students are protected.

“Yes, this measure will decrease the incidents of [meningitis], and it’s something that we need to do to protect our students,” Siegrist said.

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.