Meningococcal Disease Walk-in Vaccination Clinics Begin

Sophomore Colin Chase gets a sparkly band-aid after receiving a meningitis B vaccine at the Student Union.
Sophomore Colin Chase gets a band-aid after receiving a meningitis B vaccination at the Student Union.

The university on Nov. 30 held the first of four scheduled walk-in vaccination clinics in the Student Union to protect students against meningococcal disease.

The clinic was to be open from noon to 6 p.m. By 4 p.m., about 1,000 students had been vaccinated.

Following extensive testing of the two student cases of meningococcal disease at UMass Amherst, University Health Services (UHS), in concert with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), determined that because the two cases originated from a single strain of genetically identical organisms, this meningococcal disease should be considered an outbreak. The CDC conducted the testing.                          

In a Nov. 28 email to the campus community, Dr. George A. Corey, executive director of UHS, said his department is recommending that students at the highest risk receive serogroup B vaccinations at a series of four walk-in clinics during the next two weeks. They were scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 4 and 5.

Those at the highest risk include all undergraduates, graduate students living in undergraduate housing, and all students with certain medical conditions or those taking the medication Solaris. This includes both on-campus and off-campus students.

UHS had earlier vaccinated more than 1,400 students.

Details and frequently asked questions are online at http://www.umass.edu/meningitis