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

An Assembly panel on Thursday approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter to help protect students at New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities from meningitis outbreaks.

“Our goal is to create a proactive policy that follows the CDC’s recommendations in order to ward off potential outbreaks in the future,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Not only will this help protect students against this potentially deadly virus, but it will also help limit the fear, panic and confusion that often accompanies an outbreak.”

Specifically, the bill (A-4009) 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.

Recent 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 immunizations rate among New Jersey students attending four-year institutions of higher education.

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