Students at a public university in California where meningitis broke out last autumn will be given a vaccine that is not yet approved by the FDA for use in the USA, public health officials were quoted as saying last week.
School officials in the most population-dense state in the union had tried to get approval from the government to use the vaccine that is approved in Europe, a vaccine that inoculates against a particular strain of this dangerous disease that has afflicted four students UC Santa Barbara.
The outbreak, which caused a student to have both of his feet cut off, is akin to the strain that hit eight Princeton students in New Jersey, where students there got approval to use that same vaccine last autumn.
The vaccine is named Bexsero, and a company out of Switzerland makes it, a pharmaceutical company named Novartis AG, and it is sole vaccine that can protect against the particular strain that has afflicted four students at UC Santa Barbara so far. The vaccine is designed to protect against the serotype B of the meningococcal bacteria, and it can lead to a serious blood infection or strike as simple meningitis.
California health officials tried to get vaccine access for the UC Santa Barbara students last December because of concerns about meningitis, which is seriously contagious among certain people when they’re living closely together, like college students.
The majority of bacterial strains can be managed with a vaccine that is available in most of the United States.
However, Bexsero has not yet gotten approval for use in America, according to the CDC.
Princeton students started to receive the vaccine once the CDC did an intervention on their behalf. However, when the outbreak in California was announced, the CDC hesitated, and part of the reason for that was to check if the disease would spread to additional students.
In a memo released to employees, parents, and students on Friday, UC Santa Barbara officials announced that they would give the vaccine to students without any cost next month.
No more cases were reported so far at UC Santa Barbara, the health director said in a statement.
The company said that it would work with the CDC, the California Health Department, and the university to the drug widely available to students.
The company said that it gave US officials the documentation from its studies in Europe to demonstrate that the vaccine was safe and effective, and it was hard at work on a version to be used in the United States, too.
School health officials said that students and faculty, including those who get the vaccine, and any other members of the university community, were encouraged to continue to pay an increasing amount of attention to their personal hygiene, like not sharing dishware. The executive director for health services at the university spoke out at about the best hygienic practices, and she informed the university community about the vaccine.