Princeton University begins meningitis vaccination

The vaccine, which has not received FDA approval, has been imported under special circumstances, as it can fight against the B strain of meningitis unlike vaccines available in the U.S.
Posted By Ananth Baliga  |  Dec. 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM
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Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Princeton University students began receiving the Bexsero vaccine on Monday to protect against the meningitis outbreak, which has infected eight students in the past few weeks.

The vaccine, which is not approved for use in the U.S., has been given special approval by the Food and Drug Administration in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unlike vaccines available in the U.S., this vaccine can fight against the B strain of the disease.

The vaccine, which is optional for students on campus, is being provided by the school and is being administered much like a flu shot. Dr. Tom Clark, the chief of the CDC's meningitis branch, said that students were asked to fill out a consent form and medical staff was on site to answer questions.

The vaccine reaches peak effectiveness in two weeks and in order to fully protect themselves a second booster shot is required, which the school has scheduled for February.

"They need the second dose to sustain protection," Clark said.

While officials haven't taken the same steps at University of California at Santa Barbara, they say that a similar process is in place to permit the use of the vaccine as and when it is determined appropriate. The school has seen four cases of the disease.

But upset parents like Gavin Brooks, 51, of Laguna Beach, Calif., would rather health officials give their children the vaccine as well. Brooks' 20-year-old daughter was at a party, where Aaron Roy, one of the infected students, was also present.

“You can’t give it to one university community and not others,” she said. “I think they’re reacting too slow. I don’t know how you can say, ‘Wait and see.’

[] [NBC News]

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