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Health / Safety

State health experts ask students, employees 29 and younger to get meningococcal vaccine

November 1, 2010

A free vaccination clinic for students and employees 29 and younger will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Student Recreation Center.

Free vaccines at Student Rec Center Friday

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends all CSU students and employees 29 and younger get vaccinated for meningococcal disease. Health officials also want anyone within that age group at CSU who was vaccinated more than three years ago to get a fresh vaccine because it decreases significantly in effectiveness after a few years.

Colorado State University is working with the CDPHE, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment and the Health District of Northern Larimer County to provide a free vaccination clinic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5, at the Student Recreation Center to make getting a vaccine or booster shot free, fast and easy, and to vaccinate a significant part of the CSU population before Fall Break.

Higher than usual number of serious infections

The planned clinic is in response to the Fort Collins community seeing a higher than usual number of serious bacterial meningococcal infections over the last five months. The state has confirmed seven bacterial meningococcal disease cases linked to the outbreak in Larimer County. One of those lived in the Denver area with links to the CSU campus community. Five cases, including the one in Denver, resulted in death. Public health officials believe the vaccination clinic is an important strategy to reduce the risk of future cases.

Any roommates or family members living with CSU employees or students within the target ages of 2 to 29 years old also can get vaccinated at the clinic. Anyone who does not fit into that age category is encouraged to speak to their physician or pharmacist if they want more information about the vaccine.

Toll-free phone advice, assistance

CO HELP, a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment toll-free number, will help CSU students verify their vaccination records. They also will answer student and employee questions about meningococcal disease and the vaccine. Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 2, students and employees can call CO HELP toll-free at 1-877-462-2911 from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends. If you do not know if you have been vaccinated, or when you were last vaccinated, call CO HELP for advice.

Registration starting Wed. or walk-in

Students and employees are encouraged to pre-register for a vaccination time online at, beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3. A link to the registration site will be available from

Pre-registering will speed up the process significantly, with an estimated average 15 minutes or less from arrival to completed vaccination. Students and employees also can walk-in to the clinic and sign-up for a vaccination, but might be required to wait longer or return at a later time.

Health officials say college students are at higher risk due to their age and lifestyle, such as living in crowded spaces and being more likely to share food, drinks and utensils, cigarettes, pipes, and hookahs when socializing. Meningococcal disease is caused bacteria that are spread from person to person through contact with saliva.

No new reported cases at this time

There are no new reported cases of meningococcal disease at CSU or in Larimer County, but the Centers for Disease Control has declared an outbreak of meningococcal disease in Fort Collins. Direct links among cases are impossible to identify because people can spread the bacteria to others without becoming ill themselves. The CSU Meningococcal Vaccine Clinic is a strategy to reduce the risk of additional cases, according to state and local health officials.

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