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UCSB Begins Mass Meningitis B Vaccinations for Students, Staff

The campus, which suffered an outbreak last November, recently received FDA approval to administer an imported vaccine

UC Santa Barbara is offering the meningitis B vaccine to students and staff after the Food and Drug Administration approved its use for the campus’ outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all undergraduate students get the vaccine, which is for the specific strain of bacterial meningitis that made four students ill last year.

This vaccine is only available outside the United States, but the CDC and FDA have approved its use for outbreaks at Princeton University and now at UCSB. UCSB is covering the cost of the vaccine, according to the Student Health department.

Four students become ill last November with three during one week, which qualifies as an outbreak.

Along with undergraduate students, the campus suggests that anyone living in UCSB-owned dormitory-style residence halls get the vaccine, as well as anyone with certain medical conditions.

Vaccination clinics started Monday and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday until March 7 in the RecCen’s Multi-Activity Court room. The meningitis B vaccine comes in two doses, so there will be more clinics scheduled for the spring quarter to give out the second shot.

Any students who can’t make those clinic times can call 805.893.3313. 

UCSB held vaccination clinics after the November outbreak, but it wasn’t the vaccine for this specific strain, so the campus joins the CDC to recommend that all undergraduate students get the shot.

One of the four cases resulted in freshman Aaron Loy having both of his lower legs amputated to save his life, according to his family’s Caring Bridge website.

Family and friends are fundraising for Loy’s medical expenses, prosthetics and rehabilitation costs that aren’t covered by insurance. Anyone can give tax-deductible donations through the Southwest Catastrophic Illness Fund or donate non-tax-deductible funds to the Aaron Loy Recovery Fund through Pacific Premier Bank in Encinitas.

This bacteria isn’t spread by casual contact, so the CDC recommends that all classes and activities at UCSB continue as usual. State and county health officials are still involved in monitoring the campus and watching out for any new cases.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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