Smith College to hold meningitis vaccination clinic Thursday

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Published: 2/28/2018 9:58:26 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Smith College will be holding a meningitis B vaccination clinic for students following the hospitalization of a student with bacterial meningitis.

The student, diagnosed Sunday, lives off campus and is “receiving appropriate care,” the college said. The strain of meningitis affecting the student has not yet been identified.

The college will hold a vaccination clinic Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Campus Center Carroll Room. No appointment is required.

“We are taking this action out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health,” the college said. “Students are strongly encouraged to attend.”

Students entering college already are required to be vaccinated against the meningitis A, C, W and Y serotypes. Serotype B is not covered by that vaccine. Two shots will be required for the vaccine Bexsero, spaced one month apart, to build up an immunity to serotype B.

In addition to the serotype B vaccine, students will also have the opportunity to get the ACWY vaccine, according to the college. 

Students unable to attend the vaccination clinic can schedule a vaccination at the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness. Walk-in appointments are also available both at the Schacht Center and at local retail pharmacies.

Last fall, two students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst contracted meningitis B. State and university officials deemed the two cases of meningococcal disease on campus an outbreak and recommended approximately 20,000 undergraduate students receive vaccinations. More than 7,000 students received a meningitis B vaccine, including about 5,500 students at one of the university’s four large-scale vaccination clinics.

Following the outbreak at UMass, Smith College did offer students an opportunity to get the meningitis B vaccine at the Schacht Center. College spokeswoman Stacey Schmeidel said approximately 200 students participated in the vaccinations.

Meningitis is not easily contagious like the common cold or the flu and is spread through close or intimate contact through infected saliva.

Emily Cutts can be reached at
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