Reported by Melanie Torre
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - When we ring in the new year Sunday, we'll also be ringing in a few new laws. Effective January 1, more college students must be vaccinated for Bacterial Meningitis.
Meningitis can be a fatal disease and state lawmakers are trying to keep it off college campuses. That's one place health experts say it's most common.
"It's an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord caused by a form of bacteria," says North East Texas Health District Immunization Director Sylvia Warren.
"I know it can make people very sick and you can die from it but that's about all I know," says Ross Pirtle.
Twenty-one-year-old Ross Pirtle is transferring from Tyler Junior College to Texas State University in San Marcos. That makes him one of thousands of Texans now required to get vaccinated.
Before, the vaccine was required for most students living in dorms. But, now the law says all new students and students re-enrolling in class after taking a semester off must get the vaccine.
Who it doesn't apply to are students who have already been enrolled, students older than 30 and those only taking online classes.
"It would make me feel a lot safer if everyone was vaccinated," says Ross.
But, for many the cost is a major turn-off.
"Any of the vaccines-- if you get them from a pharmacy or a doctor-- they're going to be high because they cost a lot," says Sylvia.
We made some calls and found two pharmacy chains are both offering the vaccine for about $130 before any insurance discounts. But, at North East Texas Public Health Systems, it was just $8.
"It's just an administration fee," says Sylvia.
"I decided to come here because it's a lot cheaper," says Ross.
The same vaccine for just a fraction of the cost. The law says those students required to get the vaccine must receive it at least 10 days before enrollment.
There are a number of places students can get vaccinated at a discount and we've made those easy for your to find just click HERE.