Student Health and Wellness

Recommended Vaccines for College Students

Meningitis B Vaccine

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 through 18 years old in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, which can be life threatening.

College students, especially those who live in dormitories, are at a slightly increased risk for bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitides bacteria (meningococcal disease) compared with other persons of the same age.

Vaccination is the best protection against meningococcal disease. Now, there are two types of vaccines available to help prevent meningococcal infections:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (protects against four major meningococcal serogroups, including A, C, W, and Y)
  • Meningococcal serogroup B vaccine (serogroup B is the most common cause of meningococcal disease in U.S. adolescents and young adults and is also the cause of recent outbreaks of meningococcal disease on U.S. college campuses)

Full-time students who are new to North Park and are under the age of 22 are required by the State of Illinois to get the meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Furthermore, North Park University’s Health Services recommends that all students receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccine as well as the meningococcal serogroup B vaccine. Students who want to reduce their risk for meningococcal disease should go to their primary care physician or local pharmacy or health clinic to receive these vaccines. Students who want to receive these vaccinations but do not have health insurance and have financial constraints can email for a list of resources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides more information on vaccines for meningococcal disease.

Seasonal Influenza (Flu)

Seasonal flu vaccines protect against the three to four influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The viruses in the vaccine can change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as the vaccine becomes available in their community. Vaccination by the end of October is best since this timing ensures that protective antibodies are in place before flu activity is typically at its highest. The CDC continues to encourage people to get vaccinated throughout the flu season, which can begin as early as October and last as late as May.

Health Services coordinates several flu clinics on campus around October every year. At times, Health Services will also have flu shots available at a low price for students without health insurance. Please email for more information about getting your flu shot.

More information is available from the CDC.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). In fact, 79 million Americans become infected with HPV, usually in their late teens and early 20s. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and various types of cancer.

HPV actually leads to thousands of cases of cancer each year, including:

  • 12,900 cases of oropharyngeal cancer
  • 10,800 cases of cervical cancer each year
  • 5,900 case of anal cancer
  • 3,300 case of vaginal or vulvar cancer
  • 800 cases of penile cancer

Thankfully, the HPV vaccine can prevent over 90% of these cancers. Get your HPV vaccine now and can stop these health problems from happening.

For more information, see the following resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: