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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

USF makes meningitis vaccine a must



It’s official: Starting in January, any University of South Florida student who moves into campus housing must be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis, the disease that killed a USF sophomore earlier this year.

USF President Judy Genshaft sent a letter over the Thanksgiving break to about 36,000 students, notifying them of the new policy. Genshaft, a mother of two, demanded the vaccine be made mandatory after Rachel Futterman’s September death, which also prompted the board that oversees Florida's 11 universities to examine vaccine policies statewide.

So far, USF is the first to make the vaccine mandatory for campus residents.

“Together we can make decisions to avoid another such tragedy,” Genshaft wrote. “Your wellness is our primary concern.”

Students who already have housing contracts through the spring are exempt for now, but will have to get the vaccine before signing any new contract. Genshaft’s letter urges all students to “take action now.”

Wednesday, USF will be offering the vaccine free to any students 18 and under, or for $90 to older students. The vaccine clinic goes from noon to 4 p.m. in the Marshall Center ballroom.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:28am]


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