Universities Amp Up Meningitis Vaccine Efforts

In response to meningitis outbreaks across US campuses last year, some universities are taking a proactive role in immunizing students as the school season returns.

In response to meningitis outbreaks across US campuses last year, some universities are taking a proactive role in immunizing students as the school season returns.

Providence College, where 2 students contracted meningococcal meningitis last winter, provided the first dose of either serogroup B vaccine Trumenba or Bexsero to new students at a clinic on August 30, 2015. Students were required to attend and swipe into the clinic, but they could choose to opt-out.

Student health center director Kathy Kelleher told The Wall Street Journal that around 750 of the 1040 eligible students received a serogroup B vaccine that day. The school expects most of the remaining students to receive immunization at future clinics after checking to see whether they have already been immunized for 1 of the serogroup B vaccines.

Providence also held its third serogroup B vaccination clinic on September 5, 2015, for returning students. (The school held its first 2 clinics back in February and April 2015 to start the series of doses.)

The University of Oregon, where a bacterial precursor to meningitis infected 5 students, offered several resources for students to receive immunizations for Trumenba or Bexsero, including a clinic for incoming students which was available June 25, 2015, to August 3, 2015. Another clinic will be available to students next month.

At the University of California, Davis, where a student was hospitalized last winter for a bacterial precursor to meningitis, the Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) encouraged students to consider getting vaccinated for meningitis B. According to the school, Bexsero would be available at SHCS at a cost of $150 each for 2 injections.

The University of Cincinnati offered mobile vaccination clinics in August 2015, though only 200 out of the 44,000 total student body got vaccinated, according to The Wall Street Journal. The school’s University Health Services site stated that it was “a smart choice” to get a meningitis B vaccine and noted that there had been outbreaks in the local Cincinnati, Ohio, community.

While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not advise all college students to get the meningitis B vaccine, the University of Pennsylvania’s Student Health Service (SHS) website said it would have the vaccine in stock for those who wanted it.