Stand Up for Healthier College Students
The CDC Should Add the Meningitis B Vaccine to the List of Recommended Vaccines
By Chloe Mugg, communications intern for Healthier Colorado
This post originally appeared on Healthier Colorado’s blog June 5, 2015.
When people think about vaccinations, they picture kids in a doctor’s office getting routine chickenpox, measles or tetanus shots. The kids kick and scream, but they get a Hello Kitty Band-Aid stamped over their child’s arm upon conclusion. But this isn’t the whole picture. College students like me, who are susceptible to meningitis B, need vaccines too.
Over the past few months, college campuses across the country have seen outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease, or meningitis B. Six students and one parent of a student from the University of Oregon contracted the disease this year, resulting in the death of one student athlete in February. Fortunately, we have a way to reduce meningitis deaths safely. The Food and Drug Administration licensed the first meningitis B vaccine in October 2014. But more than half a year later, the vaccine has yet to be added to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices list of recommended vaccinations. You can help.
One fifth of all meningococcal infections occur in young adults between the ages of 14 and 24, and college students are at particularly high risk because dormitories are ideal environments for spreading this disease. According to the CDC, the fatality rate of this disease is between 10 and 15 percent. Even with recovery, 19 percent of those affected suffer from complications, including severe damage to the nervous system, deafness, brain damage and loss of limbs.
Colorado student leaders have been at the forefront of fighting for this change. Just last night, the University of Colorado-Boulder student government passed a resolution formally urging the CDC to recommend this immunization as well. On June 24, 2015, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet in Atlanta to discuss this change. We need to let them know that we support recommending the meningitis B vaccine.