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Princeton Begins Vaccinating For Meningitis B

Vaccine Available On Campus Until Dec. 12

CBS New York (con't)

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PRINCETON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Princeton University has begun administering the first round of a vaccine against meningitis.

The Ivy League school has experienced an outbreak of type B meningococcal disease. Seven students and one student visitor have been stricken by the potentially life-threatening bacterial illness since March. None of the cases has been fatal.

“It’s about a 1 in 750 chance of getting meningitis for a student here,” Dr. Thomas Clark of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CBS 2′s Syma Chowdhry.

University officials say the vaccine will be made available on campus from through Dec. 12 to nearly 6,000 students. All undergraduate students will be offered the shot, as well as graduate students who live on campus.

The second dose will be administered in February.

The vaccine for this particular strain of meningitis is only licensed for use in Europe and Australia but not in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration is allowing for its limited use at Princeton.

“Because it’s not a big problem here, that’s why it’s certified abroad but not here,” student Melissa Fagan said.

Some students said they were in favor of getting the vaccine.

“We’re ready for it to be over and done with. It’s not something we want to worry about,” student Virginia Midkiff told Chowdhry.

“I heard it was really, really packed which is to be expected,” student Elijah Mitchell said.

But other said they are on the fence about getting vaccination.

“I have some friends that are not getting it,” said another student.

Officials say it’s safer to get the vaccine than to go without it.

“You can’t get meningitis from the meningitis vaccine. You can’t give someone meningitis from the meningitis vaccine,” Dr. Clark said.

Students living in dorms are among the various groups that the CDC is recommending be given the vaccine.

Under state law, anyone living in dorm rooms must have vaccinations against other strains of meningitis. The vaccinations, however, do not cover type B.

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