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This concerns the parents of students going off to colleges and other boarding schools. Recently a new Meningitis B vaccine has been approved for use in the US to protect against the meningitis group B. There have been several recent outbreaks of the MenB disease, which have resulted in a small number of deaths. This vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2014 and is recommended by the CDC for young adults 16-23 years of age. Some schools, especially where outbreaks of group B have occurred, are requiring all students to be vaccinated with a MenB vaccine. Most people have been vaccinated for the most common forms of meningitis with the A vaccine which protects against groups A,C,W and Y. These vaccines have been available in the US since the 1980’s and are known as quadrivalent (4 group) vaccines.
MenB vaccine is being offered by Doctors Urgent Care as a 2 dose vaccination using the GSK vaccine called Bexsero®. The vaccinations are given at least 30 days apart which means that if you wish to protect your young adult before they go off to college, they can start the program now, and complete it when they return home for a visit. The only requirement is that they get the second dose at least 30 days after the first, and that they use the same brand vaccine for the second dose. Doctors Urgent Care has selected to offer the Bexsero because it only requires 2 doses.
Additional Information and Frequently Asked Questions
I already got meningitis shots from my doctor as a teenager. Do I still need to get this MenB shot?
Yes, you still need to get this new shot. The MenB shots are NEW vaccines (called Bexsero®) approved in 2014-2015. They cover meningococcal serogroup, or type, B; while the shot you received as a teenager covers serogroup A, C, W & Y. All types of this disease are very serious, potentially life-threatening, so please be sure your last booster for those shots was at age 16 or later. You will not have protection against the MenB disease unless you get the new MenB shots.
Who is considered at risk of Meningitis B?
The target population considered to be at most risk is younger students, especially new students going to a campus for the first time. Previous cases occurred in undergraduates living in shared residences, and members of sports teams and Greek organizations. Older persons have much less risk, although cases do rarely occur in any age group.
Who can get the vaccine?
It is licensed for use in the U.S.A. by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for persons aged 10-25 years of age, except in an outbreak setting where the CDC recently recommended the vaccine be given with no upper age limit.
Students can obtain the vaccine from Doctors Urgent Care. Graduate students are considered to be at lower risk than undergraduates; however, the FDA has approved both vaccines for those up to age 26. For students over 26 it is considered “off-label” but can be administered after consultation with your medical provider.
Can I wait until later to get the MenB shots? What is the urgency for getting the shots now?
We do not recommend any delays in obtaining the new MenB vaccines, because the highest risk of disease occurs when new students are exposed to the meningococcal bacteria for the first time when they arrive in their new environment.
Unfortunately, the meningococcal bacteria may still be present in students who have had the vaccine, so they can pass it to others even though they are protected from the disease. The best way for students to protect themselves is to receive the full series of the new MenB vaccines (2 doses of Bexsero®) as soon as possible.
How many shots are needed for full protection against MenB disease?
For Bexsero®, a series of 2 shots given now and one month later is needed to provide maximum immunity.
Although some protection is achieved after the first shot, studies have shown this response soon wanes, and it is very important to complete the series for each product in order to develop full and longer lasting protection against disease.
NOTE: There are two brands of the vaccine, and they cannot be interchanged. Doctors Urgent Care uses Bexsero®
If I can’t get the shots exactly on schedule, will that be a problem?
No, the vaccine still works if the intervals between the shots have to be extended longer than the recommended follow-up doses. However, the fastest protection will be achieved by adhering to the schedule.
How much does it cost?
Currently we do not know which insurance companies will pay for these vaccinations. The current charge is $195 for each of the two Bexsero® shots (pricing subject to changes in product cost), Doctors Urgent Care will file your insurance and if it is approved through your plan, we will send a refund check to you automatically. You can also request a billing statement to submit to your health insurance company on your own if you like.
What are side effects?
Most commonly reported is sore arm at the site of the injection. Extensive testing in clinical trials was presented to FDA who approved the widespread use of the vaccines.
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