Routine Vaccines for College Students

Get the Facts about the Vax

Get the Facts About the Vax

Routine vaccines matter for college students in North Dakota. Why? Many vaccine preventable illnesses are easily spread on college campuses and can make you very sick.
Get the facts on four routine vaccines college students should know about below.


The Facts

Meningitis is really serious for college students. College students are at a greater risk of getting meningitis, especially students living in dorms.


Meningitis is a bacteria that is spread through saliva and spit. It can be passed on when you live in close contact with others, or when you share something like a water bottle or silverware, or through kissing. It’s possible for someone to be a carrier of meningitis, meaning they have the bacteria in their nose and throat but they don’t have any symptoms.


The most common symptoms of meningitis are fever, headache, and a stiff neck. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, being sensitive to light, and confusion.


Meningitis symptoms should be taken seriously. Even with treatment, 10 to 15 out of 100 people with meningococcal disease will die, and one in five survivors will face long-term complications like loss of limbs, deafness, nervous system problems, and brain damage.


About the Vax

You can help stop the spread of this deadly disease by getting vaccinated.


There are two vaccines that prevent different kinds of meningitis: the MenACWY vaccine and the MenB vaccine.


The MenACWY vaccine is recommended for preteens at 11 to 12 years old, with a booster at 16 years old. If you didn’t get a MenACWY vaccine when you were younger, you can still get one now.


The MenB vaccine is usually given to teens and young adults between 16 and 23 years old. If you haven’t gotten a MenB vaccine yet you can still get vaccinated now.


Talk to your doctor or visit your student health center to learn more about getting a MenACWY or MenB vaccine.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The Facts

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is way more common than you’d think. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Around 13 million people get infected with HPV every year.


HPV is spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and close skin-to-skin touching during sex.


Most people won’t have any symptoms or signs that they have HPV, but HPV can lead to serious health problems later on, like genital warts, cervical cancer, and other cancers.


It’s important to protect yourself now against HPV. You can prevent HPV by getting vaccinated, practicing abstinence, and using condoms every time you have sex.


About the Vax

The HPV vaccine prevents HPV and health problems that HPV can cause (like genital warts and cancer).


Everyone through age 26 should get the HPV vaccine.


If you’re not vaccinated yet, talk to your doctor or visit your student health center to learn more about getting an HPV vaccine.

Influenza (Flu)

The Facts

The flu isn’t fun. Even with mild symptoms, you might miss out on class (and everything that comes after class). And the flu is more than “just a cold.” Symptoms can be severe or lead to death, even for young and healthy people.


Symptoms of the flu include fever and chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches, and feeling tired.


The flu can spread easily while you are hanging out in your dorm, working in a study room, or eating a meal with others. Someone sick with the flu makes droplets containing the virus when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Those droplets can land in the mouth or nose of someone nearby. The droplets can also land on surfaces and be passed on when someone else touches those surfaces and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.


About the Vax

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a vaccine every year. A new flu vaccine is made each year because the flu virus is always changing. When you get a yearly flu vaccine, you are best protected against the virus.


The flu vaccine is available at a lot of places including pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and student health centers. Talk to your doctor or student health center if you have questions about the flu vaccine.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)

The Facts

Measles, mumps and rubella are still around. Outbreaks can happen in groups of people who aren’t vaccinated. Traveling internationally can also put a person at risk if they have not received a vaccine.


Measles symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Two to three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear in the mouth, and three to five days after symptoms begin a rash breaks out.


Mumps symptoms include puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw that are the results of swollen salivary glands under one or both ears. Other symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.


Rubella symptoms include a red rash, as well as a low fever, headache, redness or swelling of the eye, general discomfort, swollen and enlarged lymph nodes, cough, and runny nose.


About the Vax

One vaccine, the MMR vaccine, protects against measles, mumps and rubella. It is recommended that children between the ages of 12 and 15 months receive the MMR vaccine. A second dose of the MMR vaccine is recommended when a child is between four and six years old.


Are you up to date? Traveling internationally? If you have not been vaccinated for MMR or think you might be at increased risk, talk to your doctor or visit your student health center to learn more about getting an MMR vaccine.


The Facts

COVID-19 isn’t new anymore, but it’s still important to stay up to date on current recommendations and guidelines to keep yourself healthy.


COVID-19 is a contagious virus that spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain COVID-19. Other people then breathe in the droplets and particles, or get them on their eyes, nose or mouth. Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. But remember, you can be contagious even if you don’t have symptoms.


Over one million people have died from COVID-19 in the United States. If you are over 65, have certain health conditions or disabilities, or are immunocompromised, your risk of serious illness is higher.


You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, practicing good hygiene (including washing your hands and covering your cough), testing for COVID-19, staying home if you are sick, and avoiding others who are sick.


About the Vax

The current vaccine recommendation for everyone ages five and older is to get one updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine. Most individuals 5 and older only need to receive one dose of either Moderna, Novavax, or Pfizer-BioNTech to be considered up-to-date.


What is an “updated” vaccine? Over time, the COVID-19 virus has changed. When the virus changes this new version is called a variant. The updated vaccines are monovalent (one strain) and more closely match the current strains circulating.


You can get the updated vaccine even if you never received an original COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are available at many places, including pharmacies, clinics, and student health centers. Adults 18 years and older without health insurance and adults whose health insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine can get updated COVID-19 vaccines at no cost through the Bridge Access Program. For more information about the program and for help locating a COVID-19 vaccines visit the CDC Bridge Access Program website


As COVID-19 continues to change new vaccines are being developed, and vaccine recommendations may change. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor or visit your student health center.

Find Out if You’re Vaccinated

Not sure if you have received these routine vaccines? That’s okay! North Dakota’s Immunization Information System (the NDIIS) is a confidential, electronic system that collects immunization data for North Dakotans. You can access your records through an online application called MyIR Mobile in just a few minutes.


Learn more about NDIIS and how to access your records.


If you are 18 or older you must request your own immunization records.


Not from North Dakota? All 50 states have an immunization information system. Find out how to access immunization information from your state here.

NDUS Routine Vaccine Campaign Toolkit


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