SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

The following memo was released Friday afternoon from Dr. Mary Ferris, Executive Director of Student Health Services at UCSB, alerting students and faculty that a foreign vaccine against Meningitis B has been approved and will be dispensed on campus beginning in late February.

The text of her memo follows:

I am pleased to inform you that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed the use of the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine for the UC Santa Barbara campus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which submitted the application, is recommending the following members of the UC Santa Barbara community consider receiving this vaccine, which helps protect against meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B bacteria:

  • All UC Santa Barbara undergraduates and University Immersion Program students
  • The small number of faculty, staff and graduate students who have certain specific medical conditions or who live in University-owned dormitory-style residence halls

The vaccine can be provided only to those recommended by the CDC, as described above.

The specified groups were recommended by the CDC to receive the vaccine because young adults and people with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease, especially those who live in close quarters, such as dormitory-style residence halls.

The campus has not had any additional cases of meningitis since late November, however, the CDC is recommending the vaccine to help protect the community against meningococcal disease.

Even if students have already received a meningococcal vaccine, they are not currently protected against serogroup B. The vaccine recommended by the CDC offers protection against the specific strain involved in the outbreak at UC Santa Barbara. 

The vaccine will be provided at no cost to recipients.

The University, in collaboration with the CDC and state and local public health officials, has been preparing for a two-week vaccination clinic from February 24 – March 7, 2014, for the first of the two doses.

The first dose of the vaccine will be available at the MAC (Multi-Activity Court) at the Recreation Center (RecCen) for two weeks at the following times:

Monday, February 24:  12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, February 25 – Friday, February 28:  10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Monday, March 3 – Friday, March 7:  10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Students under the age of 18 will need a signed “Parent/Legal Guardian Permission Form” in order to receive the vaccine. A separate communication will be sent to those students.

The second dose will be made available spring quarter during dates to be announced. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended for maximum protection. Special arrangements will be made through Student Health for students leaving for or returning from Education Abroad locations.

The CDC recommendation for the vaccine includes only a small number of faculty, staff and graduate students with the following medical conditions: functional and anatomic asplenia (i.e., those without a spleen or those whose spleen is not working normally, including those with sickle cell disease) or persistent complement component deficiencies (C5-C9, properdin, factor H, factor D). These individuals should obtain documentation of their condition and alert Student Health Service at (805) 893-5339 to make these arrangements. Eligibility questions should be directed to the CDC at meningvaccine@cdc.gov.

For frequently asked questions about the UC Santa Barbara vaccine clinics, please visit the Student Health Service meningococcal information page.

For frequently asked questions about the vaccine and bacterial meningitis, please visit the CDC's meningitis information website: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/outbreaks/vaccine-serogroupB.html.

Any questions about the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine should be sent by email to the CDC at meningvaccine@cdc.gov.

The vaccine that is being recommended is licensed for use in Europe, Australia and Canada, but not the United States. The CDC recommended and the FDA allowed the use of this vaccine at Princeton University, and now at UC Santa Barbara. The vaccine will be administered by licensed health care professionals employed by Maxim Health Systems under contract with UCSB.

Students, including those who receive the vaccine, and other members of the University community are encouraged to continue to pay increased attention to personal hygienic practices.

We will continue to send out timely notices and post updates and additional information on our Student Health site. Questions from parents, faculty and staff can also be answered by our Student Health Office Manager at (805) 893-5339, and students’ questions are being directed to our Advice Nurses at (805) 893-7129.