On Wednesday evening the Associated Students of UNM passed a resolution requiring all students to receive the meningococcal meningitis vaccination, sending the legislation to the Board of Regents to be voted on and, if passed, applied at UNM.
Alexander Kapp, a nursing extern in the Surgical Specialty Unit who proposed the resolution with the help of Sen. Noah Brooks, said meningococcal meningitis can be bacterial, viral or fungal, with the potential of getting into spinal fluid and inflaming the spinal cord and protective layer around the brain.
“The scary part about it is it starts will flu-like symptoms, usually people will try to sleep it off and try not to care about it,” Kapp said. “It progresses to crazy rashes, seizures and by that time it’s already too late. As college students we don’t like to go to the doctor and when we’d end up going it would be too late.”
The vaccine Kapp is encouraging UNM students to take combats a bacterial form of meningitis which is still rare, but also the most prevalent today, he said.
Kapp said with insurance anyone can get the vaccine at a cheap rate. Without insurance, it will cost $125 at Student Health and Counseling.
Kapp said students may not like the cost, “but the fact that it will last you four years — your college career — and it is much better than buying a $125 book each semester” makes it worthwhile.
Sen. Hallie Brown said in-state students have the opportunity to receive financial help for the meningitis vaccination within New Mexico.
“I know it depends on your county and everything, but I actually got my shot for free in New Mexico,” she said. “I think there are a lot of resources in New Mexico, especially for in-state students — the largest population we serve in the institution.”
The resolution passed unanimously.
This is a developing story. Check back with the Daily Lobo for more.