Back to school vaccinations

Get up-to-date on immunizations to stay healthy this school year

Vaccinations may have sparked some controversy and naysayers over the last few years about their effectiveness, but getting your shots can help prevent infection and the spread of some diseases.

While Ferris State University doesn’t require students to prove vaccination or get vaccinated on campus, getting vaccinated against some diseases could mean the difference between life and death when it comes to certain diseases spread among college-age students.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 11.16.21 AMCentral Michigan University student Kristy Malter, 21, of Macomb County, contracted what health officials have said was thought to be the more virulent B strain of meningitis. Malter died within 36 hours of falling ill in mid-July. Meningitis B is a bacterial infection that can quickly progress from a severe headache to death within a 24- to 36-hour period.

“What vaccines do we recommend? We certainly recommend the meningitis vaccine as that all came to light,” said Candace Price, nursing supervisor at Ferris State University Birkam Health Center. “I think it’s something that’s been to the forefront of everyone’s mind since this incident with a student dying from meningitis.”

There are two types of vaccines students can get to guard against meningitis infections. One is a common vaccine series many people get as children to guard against meningitis strains A, C, W and Y. The vaccine to immunize against meningitis B must be taken in a separate series.

“Students should be up to date on their meningitis vaccines,” said Price. “They should also be up to date on their Tdap, which is the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine.”

“Another vaccine to consider for sexual health reasons is the vaccine to protect against human papilloma virus (HPV),” Price said.

“When the HPV vaccine first came out, it was only for women,” continued Price. “Well, the way women catch it is from guys and for some time now, young boys and men have been getting vaccinated.”

Influenza season is also coming up and Birkam offers flu vaccines to faculty, students and staff when they become available.

For more information about vaccines and what to get vaccinated against, contact the Birkam Health Center at (231) 591-2614 or