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Vaccines for Students

University of Wyoming Student Health Service

Vaccines are injections (but can be nasal or oral preparations) which are given to prevent illnesses. A vaccine will result in your immune system developing antibodies against a specific disease or diseases. This results in the ability to destroy the microbe that causes the disease if you encounter it. We are most familiar with receiving them as children. As many are required for entrance into elementary school, the incidence of a lot of illnesses (such as polio and measles) which caused widespread outbreaks in the US has significantly decreased. There are still many illnesses that can be prevented in the college aged population, and you should consider reviewing your immunization status to be certain you are protected against these illnesses.


The University of Wyoming requires two MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccinations for admission. Outbreaks on college campuses in the 1990s showed that one immunization did not provide life long immunity. Most states have a similar requirement. Most college aged students obtained two MMR immunizations prior to starting elementary school.


The Meningococcal vaccine prevents an invasive bacterial disease that, although rare, results in about 300 deaths/year in the US, with approximately 400 survivors having permanent disabilities such as loss of limbs. College freshmen living in residence halls are five times more likely to get meningococcal disease than people of the same age who do not attend college; therefore, this vaccine is recommended for all college freshmen and others in college who want to lessen their chance of acquiring the disease. One dose of MCV4 is long lasting and is the preferred vaccine. MPSV4 is also available and should be repeated after 5 years if the person is still at risk.


Hepatitis B vaccine protects against a virus that infects the liver. It is given in a series of three injections and is recommended for all college students if it was not given during infancy or childhood years. The virus is transmitted from infected blood and body fluids, although in about 25% of cases there is no known exposure. This is the first vaccine developed against a sexually transmitted infection.


Hepatitis A vaccine protects against a different virus that infects the liver and is transmitted by ingestion of infected food or water. It is recommended in areas of the country where this infection is high, for international travelers to areas of the world where this infection is endemic, and persons who engage in high risk sexual practices. There is a series of two injections, and a vaccine which combines Hepatitis A and B in a series of three injections.


You should receive a booster dose of the Tetanus and Diphtheria (Td) vaccination every 10 years to maintain protection against these two infections. Tetanus is a bacterium that lives in the soil and enters the body through a wound. Thus, if you get a wound that could be infected, you may need a booster within 5 years of your last injection. At least one booster should be Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) as the immunity you received as a child wanes with time and you become susceptible to pertussis (whooping cough) in your late teens and young adult years.


Influenza is a viral illness that is most active in the winter months. Each year new strains may be circulating, so a new vaccine is developed and available each fall. Two vaccinations are available: an injection and a nasal spray. The nasal spray can only be given to healthy individuals, and the injection can be given to healthy people and those with underlying health problems. Anyone wanting to prevent influenza should receive the vaccination, but it is especially indicated in those who are at higher risk for complications from the illness, including those who are pregnant, who have underlying medical conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and lung disease, and are elderly. Also, all health care workers should receive the vaccine. In 2009 a novel strain of influenza appeared around the world, influenza A(H1N1), so a new vaccine was developed and became available in October 2009.


Chickenpox is a viral illness that most of us acquire as children. As we get older, the infection is more severe and can lead to more complications. Varicella vaccine is a two dose injection series for those who have not had the infection and want to be protected against chickenpox.


Protection against another sexually transmitted infection, Human Papilloma Virus, is available to both women and men. Women can receive one of two vaccines, HPV4 or HPV2. HPV4 protects against the two most common strains that cause both genital warts and cervical cancer. HPV2 protects against the two most common strains that cause cervical cancer. Both are a series of three injections. HPV4 can be given to males to prevent genital warts. Both can be given up to and including the age of 26 years old.


If you are allergic to a vaccine or its components, you should not receive the vaccine. There are other vaccines than those listed here that may be indicated if you plan international travel. The vaccines discussed here are available at the Student Health Service. For more information about vaccines, please see:
Immunization Action Coalition
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Vaccines and Immunizations
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Vaccine Education Center
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Travelers' Health


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Student Health Service

Student Health/Cheney International Building

Department 3068

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2130

TeleType: (307) 766-2132

Fax: (307) 766-2711

Email: studenthealth@uwyo.edu

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1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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