Princeton University OK’s Use of Unapproved Meningitis Vaccine
Princeton University will made available a meningitis vaccine that has not been approved in the United States.
The university said doses of the vaccine for the type B meningococcal bacteria are to be available in December and again in February for all undergraduate students, graduate students who live in dorms and university employees who have sickle cell disease and other medical conditions that make them more susceptible to meningitis.
Two doses of the vaccine are required for maximum protection according to the University.
The university said the plan was recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Princeton has set up a special website with information about the meningitis breakout and vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration last week approved importing Bexsero for possible use on Princeton’s campus. The vaccine is approved in Europe and Australia. It’s the only vaccine for use against the type B meningococcal bacteria which the school’s required vaccination for meningitis does not cover according to the New York Times.
Health officials confirmed the Ivy league school’s seventh case of meningitis last week. Six students and a visitor have been diagnosed since March.
Meningitis can be spread through kissing, coughing or lengthy contact.
There are 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis yearly in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with 500 deaths a year between 2003 and 2007.
The school has had a campaign urging students to wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughng and not share items such as drinking glasses and eating utensils according to the New York Times. But since it’s a small number of student affected many don’t feel the need to change their habits.
- Princeton University Considers Use of Foreign Meningitis Vaccine / New York Times
- CDC Importing Meningitis Vaccine in Response to Outbreak at Princeton University / Planet Princeton\
The Associated Press contributed to this report