The facts about the most popular vaccines for college students

Michelle Poje

For many students, staying healthy in college may require more than just washing hands several times a day or steering clear of that kid in class who won’t stop sneezing. 

While not required, the American College Health Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following vaccinations for students living both on and off campus. The information regarding these vaccinations was acquired through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, 

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus that can be spread through close contact with infected persons or, in some cases, through food or water carrying the virus. Hepatitis A may cause flu-like symptoms, yellowed skin or eyes, stomach pain, diarrhea and sometimes death.

Hepatitis B

Besides the fact that it protects you from a form of liver cancer, the vaccine can also protect you from contracting a virus that could cause severe liver damage or death. Hepatitis B is spread by contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, muscle, joint or stomach pain, yellowed skin or eyes, diarrhea and vomiting.


Meningitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and can be spread through oral secretions like coughing and kissing. While it may be treatable with penicillin or other drugs, meningitis can be deadly and can only be prevented through the vaccine. The most common symptoms are stiff neck, headache and high fever.


Influenza, otherwise known as the flu, is very contagious and can cause pneumonia. Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches and fatigue. The best time to get a flu vaccination is in October or November.

Chicken Pox 

While chicken pox commonly occurs in childhood and is usually mild, those itchy red bumps could cause serious complications for adults, including skin infection, scars, shingles, pneumonia, brain damage or death. The virus can be spread through the air or by contact with chickenpox blisters and will usually cause rash, itching, fever and tiredness.

Contact features reporter Michelle Poje at [email protected].