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UMass to provide additional Meningitis vaccine clinics

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In relation to the outbreak of meningococcal diseases on the University of Massachusetts campus, University Health Services has announced another set of walk-in clinics to administer the Meningococcal B vaccine during January and February.

The clinics were announced in an e-mail sent to the UMass community by UHS Executive Director Dr. George Corey.

“Vaccination for our undergraduates and those who live in undergraduate housing is the best action we can take to protect you against this rare, but serious, disease,” Corey wrote.

UHS will be primarily administering the two-shot Meningococcal B vaccine, Bexsero. UHS is also offering the three-shot series of the Men-B vaccine, Trumenba. Students that have not started either vaccine series are encouraged to come to one of the clinics to get started.

The clinics are scheduled for:

Saturday, Jan. 27, noon to 4 p.m. at University Health Services

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Campus Center, Room 163

Thursday, Feb. 1, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Berkshire Dining Commons

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at University Health Services, Room 302

Thursday, Feb. 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall

No appointment is necessary to attend the clinics. However, students are reminded to bring their insurance cards and any documentation of vaccination received off campus.

Public Health Nurse Ann Becker told Western Mass News that there is “no maximum distance between dose one and dose two.”

“Ideally it’s given within 1 to 2 months, so we’re fine if you got your first dose here at the university and you weren’t able to get the second dose while you’re home for break, then this is the perfect time,” Becker said.

In the first round of clinics during the fall semester, more than 7,700 students were given the Meningitis B vaccine by UHS, according to UMass News and Media Relations. Students that received the first dose of the vaccine during winter break can receive the second dose during the spring semester.

The strain of Meningitis found on the UMass campus isn’t covered under the general Meningitis vaccine that’s required for all incoming freshmen.

Following the Meningitis diagnosis of two students, UHS and the Center for Disease Control determined that there was a Meningitis outbreak. The determination cited the fact that the two cases originated from a single strain of genetically identical organisms, as reported by the Collegian on Nov. 29, 2017.

In addition to the vaccinations, News and Media Relations encouraged students to observe “health smart tips” to prevent the spread of meningococcal disease.

“Do not share anything that comes in contact with the mouth,” Corey wrote. “Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve.”

Kathrine Esten can be reached at [email protected]

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