Vaccine Adds to Cost of College

Tim Goral's picture

The full effect of Texas' new meningitis vaccine requirement for college entry will be felt as the fall semester nears, the time when most first-time students start at community colleges and universities.

For some who haven't had a meningococcal dose, waiting to fulfill the new requirement might be a $100 mistake.

The general rule that 18-year-olds are adults doesn't apply to the Vaccines for Children program, which covers those who are uninsured, underinsured, CHIP/Children's Medicaid participants, Medicaid-eligible, American Indian and Alaskan Native until they turn 19.

Houston grandmother Maria Cardenas found that out the hard way.

When she called for an appointment for her granddaughter, the 60-year-old was told the shot would cost $15. The teen, who is headed to the University of Texas at Austin this fall, rescheduled for an opening in April — two days after her birthday.

“Her CHIP was cut off because she turned 19, so her regular doctor said it was $135,” Cardenas said. “I figured they knew it was for college. It didn't dawn on us there would be a big difference.”

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