Get Vaccinated!

Several recent moves in the State of Indiana will go a long way toward protecting Indiana’s youth from the deadly disease of meningitis, including the B-strand of the disease.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed Indiana House Bill 1069 (HB1069) into law in June, which requires all students attending public colleges in Indiana to be vaccinated against meningitis.

This bill comes in addition to a strong recommendation made earlier this year by the State Department of Public Health that public high school seniors throughout the state be protected specifically against meningitis B – effective for the 2017-2018 school year.

This summer, the Indiana Immunization Coalition (IIC) is continuing to partner with grocery and drug store pharmacies, including Walgreens and Kroger, and universities across the state to educate college students and their parents about the dangers of meningitis B and the vaccination available to prevent it.

With students home from school, IIC and its partners urge all parents to schedule a doctor’s appointment or visit a pharmacy clinic to get their sons’ and daughters’ vaccines up-to-date – and to be sure to ask specifically about the meningitis B vaccination.

Op-Ed: Your kids need to have two separate vaccines to be fully protected against all types of meningitis.

Click here to download or order the full MenB Toolkit



What is Meningitis B?

Each year, approximately 1,000 people contract meningococcal disease in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that among those who become infected, 10 to 15 percent will die. Of those who survive, another 20 percent will suffer from permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, loss of limbs, hearing loss and/or other serious impacts to the nervous system.

In all, there are at least 12 types, or “serogroups,” of meningococcal diseases, one of which is serogroup B. In the U.S., the B strain accounts for 50 percent of all cases in persons 17 to 23 years of age.

The first B vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2014, and though not required, the CDC recommendation states that adolescents ages 16 to 23 may receive the MenB vaccine.

The vaccine is especially important for those living in close quarters, like college dorms, where the disease can rapidly spread. In fact, this past spring a student was diagnosed with meningitis B at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, and since spring of 2013, meningitis B outbreaks have occurred on six major college campuses across the U.S.

Indiana State Law requires that all universities and colleges inform students of the risks associated with meningococcal disease and the benefits of vaccination. However, this required information does not specifically address the B strain of the disease.

- 'Beware of B’ Campaign Launches, Urging College Students to Vaccinate Against Meningitis B
- Meningitis B | 'Beware of B' Fact Sheet

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