Tenn. bill would require proof of meningitis shots - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tenn. bill would require proof of meningitis shots

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that would require incoming college students to get a meningitis shot. It's known as the "Jacob Nunley Act" after an MTSU student who died last fall from the disease.

The bill unanimously passed the senate last week, and now heads to the house for a vote. Legislators say it will help prevent college students from contracting a contagious form of meningitis.

Bill sponsors say students who live in close quarters are more susceptible to the bacterial disease than others. It can spread through contact like sharing a drink.

"It was pretty shocking and terrifying because there are so many contagious forms of meningitis. I was in a great deal of fear," MTSU student Kelsey Rogers said.

College student Kelsey Rogers attended MTSU the same time as Jacob Nunley, who died last fall 24 hours after contracting meningococcal meningitis. Ten percent who catch it die.

"I was very afraid that it would become a widespread issue on campus, that it could've affected me," Rogers said.

That's why she supports the measure in his name. The "Jacob Nunley Act" would require incoming higher education students to prove they've gotten a meningitis shot.

"I believe that if you're going to public school and it's not against your religious positions, that you should have your child fully immunized," Peggy Donnellan said.

This Chattanooga mom and healthcare professional wants the law in place for when her daughter goes to college in a few years.

"If you choose not to immunize, you're putting my child at risk also," Donnellan said.

Some Channel 3 Facebook friends argue another vaccine law isn't needed. Vannessia Ray wrote, "look at the wasted money and time on stuff that should be common sense. If you're sick stay home!"

But, learning how fast and deadly meningitis can be, student Kelsey Rogers says she'd rather every one take the extra step.

"I'm a fan of it. I think that protecting students health and safety is always a good thing to prioritize," Rogers said.

The bill includes exemptions for students if a doctor says they can't take the vaccine because of a medical condition or if it violates their religious beliefs.

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