Law: Students Must Get Meningitis Shot

A new law is causing a rush on health clinics in Texas. The law that went into effect on Jan. 1st forces all college students aged 30 and younger get a Bacterial Meningitis vaccination. In some Texas counties, supplies of the vaccine have been running out. Newschannel 6 is looking out for your health. We went to see how the law is affecting Texans.

Bacterial Meningitis kills quickly. "The symptoms can increase rapidly where if untreated it can end up in the death of the individual within 24-48 hours after contracting it," said Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District Immunization Program Charge Nurse Kay Sabine, RN.

For the Williams family, that threat became all too real. They just went through their first Christmas alone. "I just miss his presence. His laughter," said Greg Williams. Their son Nicolis died in February 2011. He was just 20 years old. The Texas A&M junior was living off campus In February when he contracted Bacterial Meningitis.

The family fought for a law that would require all students to get vaccinated. The State Legislature passed the law and its kept places like the Health District Clinic busy. "The public schools went back the first week in January, and we were really inundated that day in fact we went through about 25 doses in one day," said Sabine.

The demand was so great, Health Departments have run out of the drug. In Grayson County, officials had to grant students extensions until they could get to a second clinic. The WFWCPHD has not had near the problem. "There was a time there for several days where we were completely out, but right now we are okay," said Sabine.

Nurse Sabine said its more than a law, it's a good idea for young people to get the vaccine. Greg Williams agrees, "People shouldn't play Russian roulette with this, because if it happens, it's going to be devastating."

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6

KHOU's Gabe Gutierrez contributed to this report