Validity of university students’ self-reported vaccination status after a meningococcal B outbreak

Angela K. Ulrich, Shannon B. McKearnan, Sara Lammert, Julian Wolfson, Jonathan Pletcher, M. Elizabeth Halloran, Nicole E Basta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After an outbreak of meningococcal B (MenB) disease at a university, we surveyed students regarding their vaccination status 2 months and 20 months after campus-led vaccination campaigns and compared students’ self-report to vaccination records. Nearly all participants accurately reported the number of vaccine doses at both visits. Among those who received two doses of the vaccine, accurate recall of the timing of MenB vaccination was 85.7% (95% CI: 82.7-88.6) in the short term and 62.9% (95% CI: 56.0-69.8) in the long term. After the outbreak, only one-third reported feeling ‘very confident’ in their MenB disease and vaccine knowledge. Our findings suggest that the validity of self-reported vaccination status among university students in an outbreak setting is high, but that if the duration of protection is unknown and additional doses of vaccine may be needed, documented vaccination records may be preferred over self-report to assess timing of vaccine receipt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of American College Health
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NIH Office of the Director [NIH DP5OD009162], National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIH R01AI132496, NIH T32AI05543315] and Program on U.S. Health Policy at Princeton University, the Health Grand Challenge at Princeton University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Meningococcal disease
  • self-report
  • university students
  • vaccine
  • young adults

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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