Free meningitis vaccine available to post-secondary students living in residence
The eligibility of the Meningococcal B (Men-B) vaccine program for the prevention of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is expanding to include more higher risk individuals.
Beginning April 2023, the Men-B vaccine (two doses) will be available to students attending a post-secondary school and living in residence in PEI or out-of-province. The cost is being covered by the provincial government.
“It is important that post-secondary students have access to the Men-B vaccine to protect themselves against bacterial meningitis and that they are able to do so without cost being a barrier. The CPHO is currently working with post-secondary schools to raise awareness of this important vaccine for students living in residence.”
- Health and Wellness Minister Mark McLane
“Men-B is a safe and effective two-dose vaccine given one month apart for optimal protection,” said Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Public Health Officer. “Post-secondary aged students living in residence are at higher risk of developing invasive meningococcal disease due to their age in combination with the number of students residing together in close quarters.”
Meningococcus is a bacterium which is carried in the throats of approximately twenty five percent (25%) of healthy older adolescents without causing any symptoms. It is spread to others through close contact such as eating or drinking from the same utensil or container, kissing, or living in the same house. Occasionally, a healthy person will become ill when bacteria becomes invasive and enters the bloodstream. The disease causes very sudden onset of fever, vomiting, headache, and sometimes a spotty rash which looks like bruises or a stiff neck. Although rare, IMD can result in the death of previously healthy young adults.
The Men-B vaccine program is available to all incoming and current post-secondary students living in residence. Students should have proof of acceptance to residence prior to booking their Men-B vaccine appointment. The Men-B vaccine will be administered by the University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College to their students, and by Health PEI Public Health Nursing for Islanders who are attending post-secondary out-of-province.
Men-B vaccine is already provided during outbreaks and for individuals with underlying conditions that place them at higher risk of developing IMD (asplenia; persons with congenital complement, properdin, factor D or primary antibody deficiencies; individuals with HIV; and, persons with acquired complement deficiency due to receipt of the terminal complement inhibitor eculizumab).
Health and Wellness