New shot required for some

Students living on campus had to go head to head with a needle before returning for spring classes.

The dorm dwellers were met by new immunization requirements for Florida students that required them to either take Hepatitis and Meningitis shots before returning to classes.

It is being done to protect students living on campus from potential outbreaks. Officials at the FAMU Student Health Services center in the Foote-Hilyer Administration building said without the shots, an outbreak could stabilize the university.

“When an outbreak starts, it spreads like a wildfire,” said Health Services Director . Shankar Shetty. “The requirements are just to prevent a lot of people from getting anything.”

According to immunization information listed on FAMU’s Web site,, Meningococcal Meningitis may cause neurologic impairment, partial extremity amputations or death in young adults between ages 17 and 24.

Students living in dorms, who patronize bars and who are exposed to alcohol and cigarette smoke are at risk.

Hepatitis B is a serious viral liver infection that could lead to liver disease. People at risk have been exposed to blood or other bodily fluids through sexual conduct or through a particular line of work.

Florida has requirements of its students to complete a three shot series, but out of state and older students may have slipped through before the requirement was made.

One thing at issue is the price. An office worker at the clinic said the shots cost $67 per dose.

Unlike the Measles shot, which is mandatory for students to get prior to registration at FAMU, the Hepatitis and Meningitis shots are optional.

A waiver may be filled out and signed by the student saying that they do not plan on taking the shots.

In August 2001, three students at the University of North Florida contracted Meningococcal Meningitis and thousands of the school’s students were asked to take the vaccinations.

Shetty said not taking the shots could prove catastrophic for FAMU as well.

“An outbreak could lead to closing the university,” he said.