Sumter Bill to Ensure Adequate Defense against Meningitis on NJ College Campuses Advances

Aiming to help protect students at New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities from meningitis outbreaks, the Assembly Health and Senior Services committee approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter Monday.

“This bill would create a proactive policy that mirrors the CDC’s recommendations to help prevent potential outbreaks in the future,” said Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic). “In addition, this legislation may even reduce the severity or impact of illness that could create a public health crisis on a college or university campus if exposed.”

The bill (A-1991) would revise the requirement for residential students in four-year institutions of higher education to receive immunization against meningococcal disease so that immunizations would follow the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease have occurred at Princeton University and Rutgers University over the last several years. The introduction of new meningitis B vaccines and revised recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will help address potential future outbreaks and increase the immunization rates among New Jersey students attending four-year institutions of higher education.

The bill was introduced in January and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly. It would take effect on September 1 following the date of enactment.